Water for rural Botswana right from the tap

For the first time, residents in rural areas of Botswana have access to safe and clean drinking water. Thanks to automation and electrical engineering from Siemens Solution Partner Moreflow, a new water treatment plant delivers 11 million liters of this precious resource every day.

Simply turn on the tap and have a quick drink – nothing special for many people in the world. Not so for the residents of the rural Bobirwa Sub-district in Botswana’s Central District. Like many countries in Africa, Botswana has been battling water shortages for decades, a situation aggravated by climate change.

 

The Central District is a semi-arid region that is especially susceptible to periodic drought. At the same time, Botswana has a growing population and a strong economy, which together drive water consumption. In the past years, several dams have been built in Botswana to improve supply security – among them the Thune Dam. 

Providing a comprehensive package

For the Thune Dam water treatment plant, the Siemens Solution Partner Moreflow (Pty.) Ltd., headquartered in Francistown, Botswana, supplied the automation and electrical equipment and services. The scope of supply included the medium- and low-voltage electrical system as well as drive components and process instrumentation.

 

The company also designed and implemented a comprehensive package for plant automation and monitoring. One special aspect of this project was linking remote systems in the villages to the central WinCC system via UHF radio, which offers a cost-effective and low-maintenance connection even in very remote locations.

We look forward to introducing the digital twin concept in future projects. 
Mike Tearnan, Director, Moreflow Ltd.

Everything in view from a distance

“This way, the operators in the central control room can view the entire system, including the distributed pump stations and storage tanks,” says Mike Tearnan, Director at Moreflow. “Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, digital solutions based on reliable remote connections have proven very beneficial, as the automation systems and processes can be monitored and controlled without staff having to be at the site.”

Numerous customer benefits with TIA

Aside from offering a broad range of options, the integrated solution also helps ensure a secure supply of spare parts over a plant's entire lifecycle. Changes are easy to implement, as all Siemens systems are engineered using the Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal. “Seamless configuration of all devices from just one software platform is so simple that we can easily configure projects in 40 percent less time. And if customers have last-minute changes, they can be implemented across all devices in the network with no trouble,” confirms Mike Tearnan.

The project required the integration of several elements from the Siemens portfolio. The fact that it was all brought together by our Totally Integrated Automation Portal makes it even better.
Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa

Interaction on different levels

Moreover, the seamless integration of all components using the TIA Portal and the Profinet backbone ensures optimum data visibility. Reliable industry-grade components from Siemens are used on all levels to ensure high plant availability.

 

“Siemens provided digitalization, flexibility, and customization in deploying the technology, which was the right fit for the project. Based on close cross-collaboration between all our divisions, several elements from the Siemens portfolio could be successfully integrated. The fact that it was all brought together by our Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal makes it even better,” says Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens South Africa.

So much more than water

Since starting operation, the plant has continued to provide not only a reliable source of drinking water, but also jobs for the local population. “With this project, we are also helping to develop local skills. Staff of the operating company Water Utilities Corporation received training at the Siemens Sitrain center in Midrand, South Africa, and in Botswana. Now they can utilize these skills to run the plant,” explains Mike Tearnan. “This deep involvement of the people at the site is a significant factor for successful project implementation.”

Making digitalization happen

With the treatment plant in full operation, Mike Tearnan already has plans to expand the services that Moreflow is able to offer to customers based upon the Siemens digitalization portfolio: “We look forward to introducing the digital twin concept in future projects. This will allow us to do an upfront design confirmation to better mitigate project challenges, which will translate into significant cost savings and ensure that projects are completed on time. Moreover, we are looking at cloud connectivity to MindSphere, the IIoT-as-a-service solution from Siemens.”

Digitalization provides important tools to network systems and to support novel approaches to data analysis in operation and maintenance. 
Ralf Leinen, Senior Vice President, Siemens Digital Industries Southern and Eastern Africa

These plans are well in line with Siemens’ digitalization strategy. “Digitalization provides important tools to network systems and to support novel approaches of data analysis in operation and maintenance. With our comprehensive digitalization and automation solutions, we are steadily increasing the adoption of innovative technologies and effectively addressing our customers’ challenges,” explains Ralf Leinen, Senior Vice President of Siemens Digital Industries for Southern and Eastern Africa.

Water 4.0 for Botswana

“The Thune Dam treatment plant demonstrates how we are able to support plant service and operation staff by moving from a fix-on-fail approach to an even more proactive maintenance strategy. Siemens has just the right products for connecting even very remote systems in harsh environments,” says Mike Tearnan. “So why not think big and make Water 4.0 happen here in Botswana?”

The dam and water treatment plant provide access to clean tap water for the first time in many parts of Botswana’s Central District and contribute to improving water security in the area. The treatment plant is operated by Botswana’s Water Utilities Corporation. The dam and treatment plant have been designed to supply 11 million liters per day of water to a population of approximately 40,000 until 2035. The plant also has tanks for bulk water storage before treated water is transferred via pipelines to the distributed storage tanks in the area’s villages.

March 2021

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