The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that allows for remote monitoring and regulation of the city's piped drinking water system went online on Thursday when Minister for Panchayats M.K. Muneer switched on a booster pump servicing the Nettayam area. The system was launched as part of the World Water Day, which fell on Thursday.

The valve will be operated from the central SCADA facility set up inside the water works compound of the Kerala Water Authority at Vellayambalam. Engineers at this fully computerised facility will be able to know at a glance the water levels at various distribution reservoirs and the flow of water in pipelines kilometres away.

The SCADA system would run on computer software sourced from a German firm. According to officials, the software would automatically maintain prescribed levels of water in reservoirs and regulate various valves to ensure a prescribed quantum of water in the distribution pipes.

“The main advantage with this system is that the person at the central facility can know immediately about a problem that has occurred at the farthest end of the distribution network. This will allow for speedy initiation of rectification. Now, there is a gap between, say, a pipe burst and the KWA's response to it,” a KWA official said.

Under the JICA scheme 16 SCADA stations have been constructed along the city's drinking water distribution network. From these stations the software would gather the raw data to regulate the water supply. Among other places, SCADA stations have been set up at Nettayam, Malamugal, Thirumala, Aruvikkara, Peroorkada, Kudappanakkunnu, Powdikkonam, Manvila, Attukal and Nelliyode.

While some stations are exclusively monitor overhead or ground-level distribution reservoirs, others monitor both the reservoir and the pumping system.