Gopher Utility Services
1511 N. Main Street
P.O. Box 965
Kannapolis, NC 28082-0965

704-932-7662 Office
704-933-1538 Fax




North Carolina Ground Water Association



North Carolina Rural Water Association



North Carolina Water Operators Association



National Ground Water Association



North Carolina American Water Works Association







SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) or (DCS) Distributed Control Systems , are systems which provide automation control over large industrial and commercial operations providing real-time data transmission by telemetry from remote location sensors for processing and analysis resulting in a feedback loop for computerized control over system operations. SCADA is used extensively in water/wastewater utility services to monitor critical control factors such as water tank levels, water pressure, water flow etc. SCADA processes cover areas that may be measured in the thousands of square miles, and have dimensions that may be hundreds, occasionally thousands, of miles long. The basic components of the SCADA control system are:

  • Data Acquisition
  • Data Communication
  • HMI - Human Machine Interface and Data Presentation
  • Control

Data Acquisition

Data acquisition in the SCADA control system is gathered by sensors that are classified as analog or digital. Digital sensors indicate definitive states ie. on/off, pressure/no pressure. The analog sensors provide variable voltage or current signals that provide real time data. This data is usually stored in a database for future retrieval. These sensors provide accurate run state information such as tank levels, pressure values etc.

Data Communication

Data Communication is the ability for the individual components of the SCADA control system to communicate with each other. Earlier versions of SCADA systems used radio, modem or dedicated serial lines for communicating with the external sensors of the SCADA network. Currently SCADA data is transmitted via Ethernet and IP over SONET. Security is a concern so the SCADA network should be kept on a closed LAN/WANS. Todays trend is to communicate data via encoded protocol, either proprietary or open, standard protocols. Part of today's SCADA challenge is integrating various manufacturer's components and getting them to be able to communicate with each other.

HMI - Human Machine Interface and Data Presentation

Data Presentation is handled by a master station, also called a HCI (Human Computer Interface) or HMI ( Human Machine Interface). The master station's job is to monitor the system's sensors and generate an alarm when the operational control limits or standards on the individual sensors output has deviated from normal. The master station then summarizes all the information and generates logs, historical trends and any deviations from standard limits. This information is usually displayed for ease of operator interaction in control boards.


Controls of the SCADA network's automation is completed by monitoring feedback from the master unit with input from human operators.Todays's SCADA systems are fully capable of full automation and control of regulating complex water/wastewater utility systems.


Problems with your SCADA control system results in downtime, inefficencies, customer complaints and cost overruns. By properly maintaining your system, substantial savings in labor for monitoring, control, downtime and modification to service schedules may be achieved.


Gopher Utility Systems is on call 24/7 to help resolve any water/wastewater utility system SCADA problem. Call us at 704-932-7662 or click on GUS to fill out a request for information form.