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VMM: Automated remote monitoring system for water management in Flanders

1st December 2022

The Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) is responsible for monitoring and adjusting water levels on the larger unnavigable waterways. This monitoring prevents floods and droughts as much as possible. These installations and facilities, such as controlled flood areas, weirs, and pumping stations, are geographically distributed across the 5 provinces of Flanders. A remote monitoring system allows the VMM to efficiently manage this large natural patrimony. And in the event of problems, response times are short and travel is kept to a minimum 

Our Automation team has been responsible for the renewal, expansion, and maintenance of the remote monitoring system since 2010. Currently, Equans uses its system to monitor 215 installations.

The renewal and expansion of the remote monitoring system has its own unique history. Its rollout began in 2010 in the provinces of Limburg, Antwerp, and Flemish Brabant with the replacement of the old system, which was an absolute necessity at the time. East and West Flanders followed suit in 2017. From the time of the rollout until today, Equans has been working on the system. During this time, some 100 installations that were not previously monitored have also been linked to the remote monitoring system. 

In real time and 24/7

This remote monitoring system captures real-time information from the 215 local installations and centralises this information in a secure visualisation system. And it does this 24/7. This visualisation system guarantees maximum uptime without data loss. So the operators have more than 50,000 up-to-date data records at their disposal when deciding on the appropriate management measures.

This system puts the client first. Area managers with access to the correct insights can proactively plan the best responses from their offices, from home or from the field to control water levels and thereby prevent floods and droughts. An alarm centre automatically notifies VMM staff when there is a problem with the installation or the water levels. At critical facilities, cameras provide images that VMM staff can view in the monitoring system.

To use the system efficiently, we organised training courses for the operators and maintenance staff of the VMM. 

The system grows with you

The visualisation system provides an overall view of the patrimony at all times and grows along with the needs. It seamlessly integrates all existing and new installations so that initial investments continue to pay off. This allows the range and functionalities of the remote monitoring system to be easily expanded at any time.

Across Flanders, there are 215 installations linked to the remote monitoring system. The VMM can monitor all these water control systems, spread throughout Flanders, with a minimum of operator manpower.

By way of clear reports or a customised dashboard, the info reaches the right people at the right time. This allows the hydrologists to use water level data to feed their models, and its analysis then drives other processes. 

Our on-call service team allows us to guarantee year-round operational reliability 24/7, from the linking of local installations all the way to the remote monitoring system. Warnings, forecasts, and analyses provide clear insights. Ideal for managing the installations and for making smart choices in terms of maintenance. This results in a longer life cycle and maximum availability.


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