Water – it makes up between 50 and 60 percent of the human body, covers around two-thirds the surface of our planet, and is vital to all forms of life. Ensuring a reliable and good supply of water is essential, but can pose a particular challenge in dry regions. This is true of the Mexican desert city of Saltillo on the edge of the Zapalinamé mountain range. Keeping the bustling economy of the almost million-strong city up and running despite the blistering temperatures and low rainfall is an ingenious and secured water supply system devised by the Aguas de Saltillo utility company and the use of modern technology.
Aguas de Saltillo is responsible for supplying drinking water to a population of around 850,000. To ensure a reliable supply in this arid desert city, the company relies on a water network which draws from several reservoirs with the aid of the Sitrans F M MAG 8000 electromagnetic flow meters from Siemens.
Electromagnetic instead of mechanical
The Saltillo water network is divided into sectors to ensure the optimum management of water distribution from the various reservoirs. Pressure and flow instrumentation has been installed at every inlet to serve several purposes including leak detection, pressure level control, quantification of water losses and measurement data recording. Initially, Aguas de Saltillo selected mechanical meters, but it was not long before this technology proved uneconomical and unreliable. On the advice of on-site experts JAR Electronics, the utility company decided to test the IP 68 protection-rated battery-powered Sitrans F M MAG 8000 electromagnetic flowmeter from Siemens. This solution comes with the option of a radiometric pressure transmitter and a wireless GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) / GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) communication module. This facility allows measurement data to be accessed remotely without the need to visit the site. During the test phase, the MAG 8000 accessed the flow and pressure values every five minutes. This data was then transmitted once a day to the OPC (Open Platform Communications) server, from where it was accessible to the customer at any time. Its high protection rating meant that the Sitrans F M MAG 8000 was able to withstand even the most adverse of conditions. It even continues to measure reliably in the event of flash flooding.
Test passed with flying colors
Aguas de Saltillo was so impressed by the results of the test that the utility company opted to replace all the existing mechanical meters by Sitrans components – now numbering over a hundred. Juan Diego Bravo Ruiz, Chief of Telecontrol and Telemetry for Aguas de Saltillo, summed the benefits of the newly installed system: “Including the MAG 8000 with GSM as part of our WNS project has greatly benefited the city of Saltillo. With the consistently accurate flow data we receive from these devices, we’re able to make more educated decisions to better protect our water supply – which means we can better protect our people too.”