Application > Drinking water

Monitoring of the drinking water supply in Malta

In 2015 the European Commission added further amendments to the Drinking Water Directive with the aim to improve the quality of drinking water in the European Union. The Directive aims to ensure the safety of the resource, by providing the Member States with more flexibility and freedom concerning the task of drinking water monitoring. The countries can now determine measurement parameters, which are relevant to the local circumstances. Furthermore, the amendment now enables monitoring based on risk assessment.

As a result of the new regulations, there is a demand for more specified measurements. For this reason, European Member States are taking action to implement new drinking water monitoring systems, which are suitable for the changed demands. In order to optimally adapt the systems to the requirements of each country, a flexible and scalable monitoring solution is needed.

Following the introduction of the new amendments GO Systemelektronik provided a comprehensive monitoring system for the country of Malta. The objective of the project was to completely re-equip the monitoring technology of the entire drinking water network.

For this purpose a monitoring system was developed, which was specially adapted to fit the local application. The system integrates sensors for the measurement of pH and chlorine, as well as for the determination of the temperature and flow rate. There are a number of reasons that make the monitoring of these parameters necessary, especially for the island of Malta.

The measurement of the pH value is of importance, not only to determine the hardness of the water, but also to prevent potential toxic metal contaminations. Acidic water (pH <6.5) can cause the piping system to leach out metal ions for example in case of lead, copper or iron pipes and fixtures.

Due to its Mediterranean location the country sources a majority of its water through sea water desalination, which requires chlorination for purposes of microbial disinfection. In order to ensure the overall quality of the drinking water and safe disinfection levels, a reliable measurement of the chlorine content is necessary. On basis of the measurement results it is possible to accurately dispense the required chlorine concentrations. At the same time it is possible to minimize human exposure and the effect on the taste of the drinking water.

To further ensure the accuracy of the system a temperature and flow rate measurement were also integrated into the monitoring system.

However, the objective to provide meaningful results can only be achieved through the installation of a comprehensive monitoring network, which spans across the entire piping system. For that reason 158 identical monitoring systems were put into service. The installations locations are distributed over the whole island, in order to properly cover the entire water supply system of the country. A major advantage of the comprehensive installation is the result of the interconnection of the monitoring systems. The network allows to obtain a real-time overview of the nationwide drinking water situation, which enables an efficient management of the resource.

The monitoring system for the project application utilizes the BlueSense transducer. The device is ideally suited for the task, as the sensors are directly connected. Furthermore, the setup also allows to directly transmit the recorded data to the responsible control center via the integrated Modbus interface. Here the relevant information can be monitored at all times.

The special challenge for this project was to provide a cost-efficient but at the same time state-of-the-art measuring and controlling system, which is suited for the local requirements. Furthermore, the service life of the utilized sensors is also important factor for the application.