Yorba Linda Water District (YLWD) has 25,000 potable water connections, serving residents in the hilly terrain of Yorba Linda and parts of Placentia, Brea, Anaheim, and Orange County, in California, US. The District, founded in 1909, has 4,000 fire hydrants, 11 active wells, 14 reservoirs below ground, and 20 major and sub-pressure zones. Elevation ranges from 400 to 1,400 feet above sea level. The District imports about a third of its water, supplementing its groundwater supply.
Anthony Manzano, Senior Project Manager at Yorba Linda Water District, manages the planning and design of water infrastructure, as well as working with operations, facilities and maintenance. He said: “It’s quite challenging in terms of modeling.”
Yorba Linda’s mix of water sources adds additional complications. “Orange County Water District manages our groundwater basin. We’re limited to about 70% of our total consumption from groundwater and 30% from imported water. The groundwater is significantly less expensive than the imported water. So, we need monitoring to make sure we maximize our groundwater production.”
Manzano needed easy access to live data to alert him to problems, and historical data so anomalies could be spotted. He also wanted to be able to update his models rapidly, calibrate them in-house, and monitor pump performance.
Yorba Linda Water District chose SCADAWatch by Innovyze to monitor its water usage and asset efficiency, plus InfoWater by Innovyze for modeling its water distribution infrastructure. The District was one of the first purchasers of SCADAWatch, in 2017.
In the past, water companies typically had to rely on spreadsheets to get their SCADA data into one place, then format and analyze it. Creating diurnal curves required a significant amount of manipulation. The spreadsheets tended to become more complex as time went on, and if the person who created them moved to a different role, it might not have been possible to update or fix them – should a problem have arisen.
With SCADAWatch, users employ the same mass balance calculation (IN minus OUT minus CHANGE IN STORAGE), but can look at the diurnals for any day during any given time period. For example, they could call up January and August diurnals to compare usage patterns and volumes – whatever is useful in their particular circumstances. Yorba Linda used SCADAWatch to put real data for all 20 pressure zones into its model.
SCADAWatch also tracked the performance of Yorba Linda’s pumps. The SCADA data shows the flow generated by the pump. Pump efficiency – whether the pump can deliver the desired flow rate at the required pressure – degrades over time, and the curve for a particular pump gives advance warning of when it’s nearing the end of its useful life, empowering the District to proactively address the necessary repairs or rehabilitation.
Manzano said: “We had several booster pump stations where SCADAWatch showed us that the real-life data was off from the pump curve. At one pump station, I found out that we had the wrong pump curve modeled. Thanks to SCADAWatch, we checked the nameplate and got the actual pump curve, then made the adjustment, and set it correctly. Now we have all of our major booster pump stations set to the real-life actual performing pump curve data.” This improves the accuracy, and thus credibility, of the modeling results.
Individual pumps at a pumping station don’t always have their own flow meter – there may be one for the whole station. Yorba Linda District had two pumps at its Hidden Hill pumping station. They were identical and installed the same year, but SCADAWatch revealed that one was performing significantly worse than the other, about 50 GPM less. It turned out that the pumps ran both individually and together, and one had been used as the lead pump much more – and so had more wear and tear. Once the team knew this, they could make informed decisions about how to maintain the two pumps.
YLWD took the guesswork out of its model updates with SCADAWatch. Pump controls are constantly tweaked by operations staff for various reasons. A generalized operations plan can be often found in a spreadsheet, but those controls become outdated quickly as needs arise in the system. This leaves the engineers guessing what those pump control changes were on a chosen calibration day.
With SCADAWatch the situation is completely different. YLWD could see what actually happened from the data that was right in front of them. On one occasion they wanted to check tank levels at the Santiago Reservoir against pump activity. The SCADA data showed that, if the tank level dropped to 8ft, both pumps were on. As the level rose to 17ft, one pump turned off, and at 18ft the other pump turned off. The pattern was the same over a number of days, as Yorba Linda’s SCADAWatch dashboard clearly showed. There was no need to go back to the operators to ask what they thought might be happening in the system on a specific day 6 months ago.
Calibration with spreadsheets isn’t easy, and if something gets changed in the spreadsheet, affecting the calculations, it can be close to impossible to track it down – delaying the calibration work. Yorba Linda’s modelers were empowered by SCADAWatch, connected to InfoWater, to see directly and immediately how the observed data compared with their model. The modelers could automatically update the boundary conditions for the pumps – for example, whether they were on or off at the start time of the model run. The tank levels automatically changed to exactly what they were at that time, for that scenario. Then the modelers ran the model, and compared the real data, generating a gap analysis graph.
SCADAWatch displayed the Yorba Linda comparisons as a gap analysis chart, revealing clearly the gap between each value – such as the levels of multiple tanks – in the model and in real life. It highlighted precisely where the model needed calibrating, without adjusting the parts of the model that were already accurate. The team could also run a correlation report in InfoWater to show the gap analysis and overall calibration in a different format.
“We got some great results,” said Manzano, “with just 1-2 PSI differences across a whole day.”
In 2017, Yorba Linda’s modelers were the first SCADAwatch users to attempt to calibrate their full model with it, and they found the calibration was much faster than before.
Manzano said: “Previously, for the 2012 calibration, it took a few months. We had to bring in data, work closely with our operations team, analyze the model, then do the calibration with the consultant – it took a good two months on and off. But this time, with SCADAWatch, we were able to bring in our operations team together with engineering staff for just two days. So not only did it expedite the calibration effort, it also impressed our operators as they had direct input during the meetings. It wasn’t even a full eight hours – with their assistance, it was just part of the day.”
Manzano is ambitious to achieve more with SCADAWatch and InfoWater at YLWD. He wants to make an impact on water audits and leak detection. SCADAWatch can bring in billing data, so YLWD will be able to see zone by zone where the biggest non-revenue water (NRW) locations are. It’s not a pipe-by-pipe detection system but it is rapid. Leaks are common at service connections; when old lines are improved and reconnected, SCADAWatch can check the impact on NRW levels.
Southern California is pretty warm during the summer, bringing water quality challenges. Manzano plans for the Innovyze software to help with tracking the time dissipation of chlorine. Then there are operational efficiency goals, including managing and tracking the pumping costs of electric motors and gas engines. Finally, the SCADA data has already revealed some flows out of pressure reducing stations which YLWD will focus on, and any adjustments will feed into future calibrations.
“I wanted to emphasize what a great tool this has been for us,” concludes Manzano. “It’s going to expedite future calibration efforts and save us time and money as well.”