Hunter H2O and Lutra’s delivery of Seqwaters new Plant Operational Data Management System (PODMS) for Seqwater’s 37 Water Treatment Plants commenced in January, with the rollout of the first tranche of sites which was a selection of the major plants from each of the three operations regions within Seqwater’s area of operation.

The project uses an innovative SaaS product, “Infrastructure Data” commonly referred to as “ID” to collect, store, analyse, alarm, schedule and generate operational reports and tasks for Seqwater and operations staff. The PODMS will replace the existing paper and spreadsheet data collection methods currently used at Seqwater plants and assist with standardisation of data collection and reporting formats. In addition, the product enhances field data collection through the use of a user-friendly mobile data application which not only allows free form and drop-down menu pre-defined data input but also collection of site images with associated location information regardless of the phone reception.

We are currently nearing completion of the first tranche of works, implementing the system at 6 of the largest and most complex of Seqwaters sites, including Mt Crosby and North Pine water treatment plants.

The deployment of the software requires a significant level of interaction with Seqwater operations and management personnel to assist with change management, adoption of the system by all users and to ensure the system meets Seqwater’s specific operational requirements. Seqwater is engaged at all levels throughout the project, from the inception workshops which provides users insight into the use and operation of the software, through user requirements workshops, to user acceptance testing, implementation and training followed by ongoing support from H2O.

The project commenced in Jan 2020 prior to the COVID19 pandemic, with the rollout and development of the first tranche of sites occurring at the height of the pandemic restrictions. Despite the restrictions both in Australia and New Zealand the project has remained on schedule with H2O and Lutra personnel working remotely using virtual meetings and online training workshops. These initiatives have allowed the project to progress whilst adhering to Seqwater’s strict COVID19 work site and physical distancing compliance requirements. The coordination and seamless interactions between all three groups using the available virtual technologies has exceeded expectations.

The key success factors have been

  • Developing a close working relationships with the client, as change management is critical for adoption of new technology and the success of the project. The delivery model chosen ensures management and staff are engaged and included in all aspects of the project
  • A team with operations experience who value Operators requirements and their time constraints when scheduling project activities.
  • Experience in Operations and Water compliance reporting
  • Sound knowledge of ADWQG and QLD Compliance requirements

At the completion of tranche 1, the system will be evaluated. Lessons learnt will be documented and adopted to ensure the delivery methodology and the software implementation meets the operational requirements of Seqwater. This iterative approach to continuous improvement will be employed for each tranche of sites for the life of the project. Following completion of tranche 1 the software will be progressively rolled out to the remaining Southern, Northern and Central plants over the remaining 6 months in 2020 and early 2021.