Improving the quality of drinking water in South Africa is imperative, but for municipalities in outlying areas attaining Blue Drop Certification can be a big ask. In response Chillisoft has created ADISA, a software application that measures water management and quality processes within the limitations experienced by these municipalities.
Peter Wiles, technical director of KwaZulu-Natal based software development house Chillisoft, believes that the Blue Drop Certification system has on going implications for every municipality in the country. The system was put in place by the Department of Water Affairs in September 2008 to incentivise municipalities to provide clean potable water in line with principles laid down by the World Health Organisation.
He explains that Blue Drop Certification goes way beyond the actual quality of the water that comes out of the tap at any given time. In addition to water quality compliance, local authorities have to score 95 percent or higher when it comes to a stringent list of criteria that measure the overall management of the drinking water system. The credibility, capture and analysis of sample results taken from a wide variety of locations plays a critical role, he says.
Founded in 2005, Chillisoft prides itself in creating pioneering solutions and products using Microsoft technologies.
With a keen appreciation for lean methodology, the company has earned a strong reputation for both operational excellence and responsiveness and has an established customer base throughout South Africa in the fields of product development, service based solutions, Test Driven Development (TDD) consulting and project rescue.
Chillisoft’s strength is its ability to move an idea from a concept into realization and implementation.
Wiles says that it was only when the company began developing an application for the Amathole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape that it fully appreciated the many obstacles that needed to be overcome.
“Stutterheim Town is approximately 80km north of East London and has approximately 50 remote water treatment plants across the province. The Water Treatment Works in Stutterheim Town is under the jurisdiction of the Amahlathi Local Municipality (WSP), which falls under the Amathole District Municipality who acts as the Water Services Authority (WSA) responsible for the provision of water services to the area under its jurisdiction,” he explains.
When Chillisoft began the project, he says that a paper based system that comprised of a water quality log sheet to record water quality and stock levels at various water treatment plants was still in use.
“From the analysis on-site, a number of issues were encountered. The existing system meant long report cycles. In most instances it took up to a month for management to receive key reports which disadvantaged their decision making abilities as it did not provide critical information in real time. There was no reliable reporting structure between plants, incorrect data capture was not identified, the information that was captured was not being used and management of plants was not being assessed or evaluated,” he says.
It was also not as simple as replacing an antiquated paper based system
with an electronic one. For one thing, water treatment plants were
remote and had limited access to internet connections. This made cell
phone network connectivity the only option.
That’s where ADISA comes in. Chillisoft’s application enables operators to capture meter readings and automatically calculate the water quality analysis for various process control points in a treatment plant. Notification is immediately flagged to the operator should results exceed the standards set for a specific control point.
Management is notified when critical limits are exceeded and when failures become frequent. Management can view a detailed report on the analysis of the water quality to identify potential holdups and, based on operational monitoring results, can report its compliance to the water quality standards.
“ADISA focuses on improving on existing reporting by providing near real time issue visibility. This is achieved through the use of tables to capture key data points from a treatment plant. In addition to speed, this also provides data checks allowing the operator to correct errors when capturing. Management has the benefit of receiving reports in near real time allowing them to make critical decisions while problems are occurring. ADISA uses tablets which are cheaper and easier to operate than PC’s. This leads to a reduced TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) when compared to other water management solutions,” Wiles explains.
Most importantly, ADISA is a semi-connected application. The application is a front-end client and back-end server that runs on Windows, Android and iOS platforms for tablets and smart phones. Data can be captured and saved should there not be any network connection or data. This is synchronised and sent to a central server via a 3G/Wi-Fi connection.
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