Level of Intervention:
Plant level / pumping station AND System level (canal/water system)

Canal and River Trust owns and maintains 76 pumping stations throughout the canal network which either abstract water or transfer water (including back pumping) around the network. These pumping stations currently contain 122 individual pump sets.

  • 25 of these pumps (33%) are used for water abstraction from river or groundwater sources to supply water to the receiving canal.
  • 48 of these pumps (63%) recirculate or back pump water which has been displaced by boat traffic travelling through a lock or series of locks in a lock flight. They are also used to transfer water to a higher canal pound to accommodate water loss through seepage, evaporation and transpiration or for onward transfer to another length of canal.
  • 3 of these pumps (4%) are used for flood water transfer and alleviation, to clear silt from locks, to pump sewage to sewer, and to pump surface water under specific agreements.

The Trust utilise Variable Speed Drives (VSD’s) at 13 sites and Smart power metering at all 76 sites

Pumps are selected from a range of manufactures including Flygt, Sulzer and KSB. They range in motor size from 10kW to 250kW. Typical flow rates across all stations are between 0.06 m3/s to 1 m3/s

Pumping stations are typically operated in three ways depending on the age of equipment, operational or environmental constraints and funding available for upgrade.

  • 18% ‘Old set up’ – Manual operation and labour intensive.
  • 6% ‘Intermediate set up’ – Semi-manual operation, some use of timer clocks.
  • 73% ‘Fully automated’ – SCADA controlled, pumps start when set water levels are reached.

Fully automated is becoming standard practice – allowing remote performance monitoring, diagnostics, and the ability to adjust control parameters to match resource requirements.

The Trust has gradually upgraded pump sites/operations to incorporate SCADA systems.

Aim of the Experience:
2 distinct topics emerging of interest that we aim to improve our knowledge about are:
HARDWARE – More robust and reliable mechanical infrastructure (inc pumps) and instrumentation (see Case Study Smart Pumping ‘Hardware’)
SOFTWARE – Improved Control Panels and ease of SCADA integration

Software – Control Systems
Most recent work has been to replace (increasingly unreliable) Dynamic Logic (DL) units which bring effective pump control with (currently Mitsubishi) PLC units. Upgrading these PLC unites should deliver even greater efficiencies. 4 CRT pumping sites (which ones ??) still have DL outstations and are awaiting upgrades to PLC units.
SCADA also enables pump use to be monitored, examined and analysed. Pump switch on-off points can be set to water levels or to a clock timer to provide the right pound level to meet water demand. The set points can biased towards off-peak electricity timing to reduce overall pumping costs.

Description of the experience:
Trial solutions and through expert exchanges find best practices. Including:

  • How to enhance older pumping equipment to provide maximum efficiency e.g. Gloucester
  • Integrating new pieces of equipment into existing infrastructure is our common approach and tools to assist with this will have a significant benefit
  • A tool kit to allow multi pump manufacturer comparisons. Currently manufacturers tool are for their own ranges and specialist pump design software is geared towards new build rather than re-build / development.
  • Need more info to support SCADA PROPOSAL

Assess typical failure types and what they cause (we want to address) are:

  • Control Panel SCADA Communication –modem or router failure cutting communication to SCADA servers. Can prevent operation when remote water level instrumentation is utilised
  • Control Panel Equipment –failure of a component inhibiting or preventing operation of pumping equipment such as a call to run relay
  • (Hardware or software??) Field Equipment Instrumentation –failure of a water level transducer affecting the operation of the site either preventing pumping equipment being called when required or causing excessive pumping.

Trial Pumping SCADA Control & Set Points

  • Installation of SCADA telemetry and level instrumentation on a pumping station enhances CRT’s control options and is considered as part of the (site upgrade) prioritisation process.

(Each site has a Water Management Operational Procedure which documents the level reference or datum control point for the SCADA instrumentation and defines the optimum control parameters for the site’s operation)

Summary of measures:
Efficiencies and good/best practice will be found through

  1. expert assessments provided by partner exchanges and technical expertise from Arcadis
  2. pump efficiencies found through testing in the Liege Test facility and
  3. in situ trials in the UK at Tinsley, Seend, Caen Hill and Calcutt
  4. Specific targets are (later we can change to ‘were’) to develop
  5. Supply load balancing to grid with variation in speed control and stop start. True cost benefit and impact on service life needs investigating.

Estimate of CO2 reductions and other outcomes:


Further information: