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Old tower gets new tech

Published: 24 September 2021

Thompson Rd water tower

Old and new are coming together to give Napier City Council indepth, real-time information on water use.

The 20-metre-high iconic historic water tower on Thompson Road was first erected in 1910, then rebuilt after the earthquake in 1931. It’s been out of service since 1956 but now it’s back in the mix providing essential water information through a cutting-edge telemetry system.

Russell Bond, Manager Water Strategy, sees putting the old water tower to work as a base for new tech is a great way to breathe life into a treasured but ancient water asset.

“The historic water tower is a landmark because you can see it from everywhere, and that means it’s perfectly situated to pick up information and send it to our servers,” says Russell.

The new tech perched on the tower replaces analogue technology in place since the 1980s. What’s in place now is the latest in SCADA technology designed by New Zealand company 4RF in Wellington. SCADA is the acronym for supervisory control and data acquisition, bringing vital intel into the Napier City Council water team such as reservoir levels, water usage and pump flow rates from the wastewater treatment plant.

“This brings Napier another step closer to contemporary, modern water management albeit with our own heritage twist,” says Russell. “It was a very thin pipe carrying very important information, so it’s essential we’ve increased our capacity for carrying that information, and it’s great to be able to put this heritage water asset back into good use.”


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