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Real-time control strategies.

All pumps require a control strategy, from basic manual start/stop systems to highly automated, multiple-pump variable-speed systems. In complex systems, the flow and head generated by the pump can be controlled by a Variable Speed Drive (VSD), particularly when the system demands a variety of operating conditions and maximum system efficiency for each.

Within the range of control strategies available, OneStone has particular experience in the development of real-time control strategies for large pumping stations in water distribution systems where the pump station must fulfil a range of operating conditions and functions. The multiple objectives of a pump station control system can include:

  • maintaining constant pressure (for booster systems)
  • maintaining constant flow rate (for transfer systems)
  • maintaining constant water level (for sumps)
  • minimising surge.

As the design, implementation and ongoing operation of a pump station control system requires coordinated and multidisciplinary input, it can be a challenge to ensure the control strategy remains fit-for-purpose and the pump station performs efficiently as designed. Any system changes or upgrades can lead to the pump station operating unpredictably, which may cause:

  • inefficient pump operation and increased energy use
  • damage to the system due to water hammer
  • increases in system downtime and maintenance due to poor performance
  • instability that can extend to the rest of the network, such as fluctuations in pressure that can impact connected customers, or fluctuations in flow that can cause system-wide inefficiencies and failures in chlorine dosing facilities
  • lost confidence by remote operators in keeping the system under stable and controlled conditions.

A significant challenge in implementing the design of a real-time control strategy for a pump station is ensuring it meets the needs of all stakeholders, and all systems it intersects with.


Stakeholder Control strategy requirements
Planners Ability to determine daily, weekly, yearly and future projections of water distribution
Achieve water supply objectives (pressure, flow rate)
Predict energy usage
Engineers Meet operational requirements
Compatibility with electrics (motors, VSDs, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
Compatibility with mechanical equipment (pumps, motors)
Operators Ability to achieve specified targets for water distribution with required functionality and ease of use

OneStone works closely with all project stakeholders to ensure that multiple control objectives can be efficiently achieved within a coherent control system design.