Telemetry to support NSW Non-Urban Water Metering Framework

November 2019

Telemetry system will launch by 31 March 2020

  • The government’s new telemetry system will be fully functional by 31 March 2020.
  • Water users will be able to engage a duly qualified person (DQP) to order and install an appropriate device from 1 April 2020.
  • This will allow time for water users with surface pumps 500 mm and above to be ready for the new metering rules by the new commencement date of 1 December 2020.

Overview

Under NSW’s metering rules, all surface water works, except for pumps below 200mm, need to be fitted with an accurate meter and a compatible local intelligence device (LID). A LID is a device, such as a telemetry-enabled data logger or other telemetry-capable field solution that is able to connect to a water meter and transmit metering data to government via telemetry.

All other works that are captured by the metering rules need to be fitted with an accurate meter and a compatible LID.

To enable the secure transmission of meter data, the department has procured a cloud-based data acquisition service (DAS) that will collect and store data received from compatible LIDs. Data collected by the DAS will assist the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), WaterNSW and the department to undertake compliance and enforcement, billing and other water management activities. Water users will also be able to access their information via a private online dashboard.

A compatible LID is one that meets the functional and security requirements of the DAS and has been installed by an authorised Duly Qualified Person (DQP). In order to maintain a suitable level of data integrity throughout the system, the department has created a set of technical standards (below) to guide manufacturers to develop compliant devices. The department will maintain a list of devices and solutions that have been tested and confirmed as meeting these requirements.

Standards for data loggers and telemetry

The Water Management (General) Regulation 2018 sets out key technical requirements for data loggers and telemetry, and also requires that they meet any relevant requirements in the Data Logging and Telemetry Specifications 2019.

The Data Logging and Telemetry Specifications 2019 define the minimum requirements for ensuring a satisfactory level of functionality, data integrity and security across the government’s data acquisition service.

These requirements are key to ensuring that the storage and transmission of data has sufficient integrity and functionality to support NRAR’s compliance and enforcement functions. For example, NRAR may use this data as evidence in its investigations and its proactive monitoring programs including visits to sites.

In particular, these requirements ensure that:

  • devices have features to detect and prevent tampering.
  • devices can log and transmit data to the DAS at appropriate intervals to support compliance and enforcement and other government functions.
  • devices are technically capable of being connected to water meters or other instrumentation and transmitting data to the DAS.
  • devices transmit data in a way that manages security and data integrity risks.

The NSW Government will publish revised specifications in early December 2019. These changes will simplify and clarify these requirements but will not affect the substantive requirements.

Data logging and telemetry market engagement

NSW Government has designed the DAS to be supportive of an open market. This will give water users choice, create opportunities for product manufacturers and encourage innovation.

Following the release of the Data Logging and Telemetry Specifications 2019 in April 2019, the department held technical workshops with device manufacturers to encourage them to develop field solutions that are compatible with the DAS. The department has continued to engage with manufacturers throughout 2019 and committed to funding at least two rounds of device testing to further encourage the market.

As of November 2019, five devices have been tested for compatibility with the functional and security requirements of the government’s DAS and an additional five devices have been presented to the department for testing in December 2019 and January 2020.

Following the first round of testing, the department shared all test results with manufacturers and held a series of feedback sessions with each manufacturer. At this stage, the manufacturers are in the process of responding to the test results and we will continue to work with them through this process. We will update the list as soon as manufacturers can confirm the compatibility of their device with the technical standards of the DAS.

The department is also designing a long-term approach to device testing that will provide a clear pathway regarding device testing and listing, giving manufacturers an ongoing opportunity to participate in this new market. Further information about this approach will be provided in the first quarter of 2020 and, in the interim, please direct any questions about telemetry market engagement and testing to water.reform@industry.nsw.gov.au.

List of compatible data logging and telemetry solutions

To give water users greater confidence about devices or solutions that have been confirmed as being compliant with the metering rules, the department will maintain a list of compatible devices and solutions that have been tested and found to meet the functional and security requirements of the DAS. It is the water user’s responsibility to ensure they purchase a fit-for-purpose device that meets their individual needs.

Please note that this list does not provide any form of warranty or assurance about the quality, reliability or suitability of listed devices, including for specific environmental conditions, metering equipment configurations or signal interfaces - the testing of devices and solutions for the purposes of listing is limited to their ability to connect to the DAS and meet specific security and data integrity requirements that are described in the Data Logging and Telemetry Specifications 2019.

The list specifies the version of the device that underwent testing, and any unlisted version of the same device is likely to require re-testing before it can be confirmed as meeting the functional and security requirements of the DAS.

The product trade names in this publication are supplied on the understanding that no preference between equivalent products is intended and that the inclusion of a product name does not imply endorsement by the department over any equivalent product from another manufacturer.

Information for vendors developing compatible data logging and telemetry solutions

The department welcomes meter, data logger and telemetry manufacturers developing devices and solutions that are compatible with the DAS. We have published the following technical standards to guide vendors to develop compatible solutions:

If you are a product vendor and want your solution to be included on the list of compatible devices and solutions, you will need to:

  • identify an ‘engineered field solution’, inclusive of data logger, telemetry modem, antenna, power supply, cabling, suitable enclosure and security features, that can be pre-assembled and configured for installation in the field.
  • demonstrate that your solution meets the technical standards in the Data Logging and Telemetry Specifications 2019 and the DAS Logged Data Format Guidelines, including documentation, roadmaps, certifications, references and/or other evidence.
  • have your field solution tested.

The department has committed to funding the first two rounds of device testing and is preparing a long-term approach that will specify requirements and any associated costs for vendors associated with future device testing and listing.

If you have any questions, please contact us at water.reform@industry.nsw.gov.au.

Information for Duly Qualified Persons

Under the metering rules, a duly qualified person (DQP) - such as a certified meter installer - will need to install and connect data logging and telemetry devices to the DAS.

We are designing this process to minimise the need for DQPs to undertake on-site configuration, for example, by ensuring that data logging and telemetry devices are pre-configured or can be remotely configured.

We will continue to engage with DQPs throughout the development and rollout of the DAS to ensure they understand what is needed to procure, install and connect data logging and telemetry devices to the DAS.

The department, together with Irrigation Australia Limited and the Australian Hydrographers Association, held workshops with DQPs in Dubbo, Wagga and Moree in May 2019 to better understand their role under the new metering rules.

The department will schedule similar workshops in early 2020, focusing on telemetry and how DQPs can connect field devices to the DAS. We will also publish a step-by-step guide for DQPs to follow to install and connect data logging and telemetry devices to the DAS.

If you have any questions, please contact us at water.reform@industry.nsw.gov.au.

Information for water users

Under the new metering rules, you will need telemetry for all of your approved surface water works, except for surface pumps less than 200 mm or those directed to install telemetry by an order of the Minister.

Even if you are not required to have telemetry, you may voluntarily install telemetry equipment and have it connected to the DAS. This will avoid the need for some recording and reporting requirements.

You will be able to access the information that is transmitted to the DAS through a private online dashboard. You will also receive notifications when your telemetry system is not transmitting data.

You will need to have a compatible device or solution installed by a DQP, such as a certified meter installer or a licensed electrician. DQPs will also be able to provide you with advice on suitable telemetry systems and telecommunications providers, and provide you with a sim card.

Eagle.io is working with 3G/4G and satellite carriers to ensure that all areas of NSW are capable of connecting to the DAS. It is anticipated that 3G network access will be between $8.50 and $11.50 per month. Satellite network access costs are expected to be similar.

If you have any questions, please contact us at water.reform@industry.nsw.gov.au.

Existing telemetry solutions

Government recognises that many diligent water users have already installed telemetry systems to help them monitor and manage their water use.

The department engaged independent expert, Isle Utilities, to undertake an initial desktop-based assessment and provide advice about the feasibility of water users connecting to the DAS – and satisfying their telemetry requirements under the metering rules - via these existing solutions.

Isle recommended that the department design a process to identify and evaluate third party telemetry solutions and engage with the market via this process; and that potential issues associated with data integrity be investigated further.

The department recognises the value in exploring this matter further, however its immediate priority is ensuring that the DAS is fully operational by 31 March 2020.

The extent of existing third party telemetry systems and the costs of LIDs – once available – will be key factors in deciding whether a pathway for allowing third party telemetry is warranted.

If you have any questions, please contact us at water.reform@industry.nsw.gov.au