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How Los Angeles Used SCADA to Restore a River

Los Angeles is a city known as the hub of the television and entertainment industry. Trend-setting and modern, this bustling area is a center for food, shopping, outdoor recreation, sporting events, and nightlife. If you live in Los Angeles, there is never a dull moment. But, Los Angeles is more than what you see on your TV screen. Like any other city, the residents need access to a clean water supply. Now, this water supply is monitored and controlled with a sophisticated SCADA system.

The problem

In the early 1900�s, the Owens River water supply was diverted to Los Angeles. As the urban population grew, the city found itself in need of a greater water supply. At the time, the Owens River was the solution. Over time, the Owens River became dormant. In the fall of 2005, Los Angeles allocated $25 million to begin the process of restoring the river.

The Owens River had previously been a vibrant habitat. After its diversion to the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the river was no longer able to sustain the indigenous plants and wildlife in the area.

Because the river had been dry since the early 1900�s, there were several unknown variables. Without historical data, it was difficult to determine what instruments were needed to measure water velocity and output. After some deliberation, the city of Los Angeles narrowed in on the right SCADA instruments.

The solution

The city of Los Angeles recognized the damage that occurred with the water diversion. The restoration plan was intended to reinvigorate the habitat for the indigenous plant and wildlife, create new opportunities for outdoor recreation, and manage the flow for irrigation, recreation, ranching, and water export.

To solve the problem of the dried-out stretch of 62-mile riverbed, the city of Los Angeles decided to implement a SCADA system. With such a long stretch of river to manage, there were multiple remote sites to deal with which all needed to interface with the SCADA system.

In order to monitor flow levels, Los Angeles chose the SCADA equipment for its ability to withstand extreme temperatures, be small and energy efficient, utilize communication features, and integrate easy-to-use RTUs. In addition, the HMI was easily configurable and allowed for remote sites to be added as the project progressed. High-speed radios and repeaters enabled communication in real time and stored data for analysis. Overall, 16 sites were installed as part of the SCADA system. For more information, see the Lower Owens River Restoration Project case study.

Winning results with SCADA

With the implementation of a SCADA system, Los Angeles is now able to manage and monitor the water flows in the Owen River. Using sturdy flow instrumentation, the SCADA system interfaces with remote sites to provide accurate, real-time data. The SCADA system confidently supplies data to the public without interruption. As a result, the river habitat is in the process of restoration while maintaining efficient water flows.

Check here to see the real-time data from the Owens Valley.

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