Ofwat expects Water Companies in England and Wales to make savings on their operating costs by achieving greater efficiency, but further belttightening can’t offer much more scope without putting performance at risk. ICA (instrumentation, control and automation), on the other hand, offers real potential for increased efficiency if it is genuinely integrated into the business. The Water Industry appears to have a negative view of ICA, for good historical reasons, but there are now a number of good reasons to change.
First, there have been significant improvements to instrumentation. European environmental legislation has funded new water and wastewater monitoring techniques such as fluorescencebased dissolved oxygen measurement, bufferless chlorine analysers and ‘buoy’ format analysers for wastewater. Instrumentation suppliers have been through a ruthless shakedown and the dross has mostly gone, leaving some good quality online instruments.