SWANTEL for The Environment Agency

The Environment Agency are the leading public organisation for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales.

Around 5 million people, in 2 million properties, live in flood risk areas in England and Wales. The Environment Agency has an important role in warning people about the risk of flooding, and in reducing the likelihood of flooding from rivers and the sea.

The Environment Agency has developed a new Flood Risk Management Strategy. This new approach moves away from the traditional focus of defending against floods to managing flood risk. Flood warnings comprise of several processes including weather, river and coastal conditions, forecasting river and sea levels, disseminating flood warnings, and influencing those at risk to the effective action to prepare for and respond to flood warnings.

The Environment Agency's Requirements

The Environment Agency’s original telemetry systems, commissioned by Servelec Technologies in 1989, served both the Anglian and South West regions well but they were very close to the end of their technical lifecycles. Leading edge technology was therefore needed to replace the existing systems and to provide flow modelling, weather radar and more importantly, flood forecasting warnings.

The existing telemetry systems provided the foundation upon which the region has implemented additional sites and is currently developing a sophisticated Flow Forecasting Modelling System, AFFMS. The telemetry systems had a resilient, open and flexible design incorporating the weather radar display software STORM.

The SWANTEL (South West and Anglian Telemetry) project was initiated to enable the capture and subsequent storage of data in an Oracle database relating to climatic conditions throughout the South West and East Anglia regions of the UK.

The SWANTEL system needed to enable joint system management to be undertaken. This requirement implied that the system should be uniformly configured to the same standards in both regions and required that the system should be resiliently connected across the Wide Area Network.

The Solution

The Environment Agency awarded Servelec Technologies a contract valued at £1.6 million to design two regional schemes to improve flood forecasting in the Anglia and South West regions. 

The aim of the project was to improve The Environment Agency's ability to forecast floods and droughts and to monitor pollution. The Anglian region covers more than 27,000 km2 and is the home to more than 5 million people. The Anglian region telemetry system links to over 900 outstations across the region. The South West region covers approximately 24,000 km2 and has a population of just under 5 million (however the region hosts some 15 million visitors each year). The South West system links to 600 outstations of various manufacture located across the region, in both cases the system supplies data based on river level, river flow, rain gauge and associated equipment.

The new system offers a quicker, more accurate and detailed information service in the South West and Anglian regions and partner related strategic initiatives in the Midlands, Thames and The Environment Agency Wales regions. Alan Stubbs, CEO of Servelec Group, says "We are proud to provide Anglia and the South West with leading-edge web technology to deliver accurate flood forecast information, enriching the quality of life for the people who live there".

Servelec Technologies has developed the new South West and Anglian telemetry system (SWANTEL) for The Environment Agency, based on its SCOPE Telemetry and SCADA product.

The Servelec Technologies solution includes:

  • Xtraview 3 the browser based telemetry interface
  • An Oracle database holding 10 years of historical data
  • GenIE, enhanced software interface system from Servelec Technologies
  • The software design and implementation skills to integrate the complete solution

The new telemetry solution will integrate with The Environment Agency's Wide Area Network allowing personnel access to the systems from workstations throughout the two regions. The workstations may be connected directly to The Environment Agency WAN, as either a harmonised workstation (clients internal standard build for corporate PICs) , a dedicated workstation, or via The Environment Agency's secure dialup gateway allowing the users to connect via PSTN from home or a remote office without network connectivity.

Data from outstations, and third party interfaces such as the Thames Barrier link, etc, are collected and stored by a diversely located duty/standby pair of data gatherer systems in each region serviced by the SCOPE product. The data gatherers provide the data collection services via a number of different outstations for their local region and transfer it in real-time to an historic datastore based on an Oracle RDBMS. The two regional systems are based on identical designs and identical software products ensuring that upgrade paths support services are in line with the evolution of our core products.

Benefits to The Environment Agency

The new SCOPE system will provide SWANTEL with substantial benefits:

  • Xtraview3 is web based therefore allowing The Environment Agency to access SWANTEL from any of the 2000+ PCs on their network. The ability to run the whole system using only a standard browser enables full deployment of The Environment Agency's harmonised PC desktop policy without additional software. It also provides anywhere anytime access to SWANTEL, removing the need for full shift manning of the control rooms, lowering callouts, and further reducing costs. This includes access for engineering and configuration purposes
  • The inherent ease of use of XtraView3 reduces the engineering effort on configuration/re-configuration and lowers training costs
  • Real time telemetry and historical data is integrated in a single browser screen providing instant visual comparison of live and trend data allowing faster response to unusual conditions
  • The system is resiliently connected across the Wide Area Network to enable a system manager in one region to view the system in the other region and to undertake management tasks

System Features

  • The GenIE Interface Engine allows fully automatic data exchange in any standard format with the existing modelling solutions for flood forecasting, Thames Barrier and Meteorological Office systems for rainfall data collection
  • Enhanced alarm handling includes fully automated SMS alarm/alert messaging and DTMF. It uses an integrated duty roster with preset escalation processes enabling faster response to critical issues. Unlike other systems, SMS response to alarm/alert conditions is also available
  • The SCOPE telemetry system is deployed as a hot fail-over non-stop system on servers that are physically separated by nearly 40 kilometres, ensuring continuous availability even in disaster scenarios

SCOPE Telemetry & SCADA

The SCOPE family of products for Telemetry and SCADA provide continuous monitoring and control of your asset estate. Optimum reliability is achieved through robust software design, utilising high levels of redundancy supported by low maintenance needs. Click here to find out more about our CADA platform, SCOPE today.

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