Posted: Wednesday 23rd February 2011

The WITS (Water Industry Telemetry Standard) management team, supported by Grontmij and six partner vendors, has completed full interoperability testing on its WITS DNP3 protocol and is now gearing up to launch the full WITS Protocol Standard to the industry this month.

The Standard, the first of its kind in the water market, will deliver major changes and significant benefits to the industry, providing greater flexibility in product selection and leading to reduced costs when replacing telemetry assets. Master system and field device manufacturers will also have greater scope to develop exciting new solutions to meet future industry needs.

January will also see the launch of a new website ( ) detailing all utility companies, contractors and consultants need to know about the new WITS-DNP3 Telemetry Protocol Standard and how to become a member of the association.

The WITS initiative was established in 2003 by water professionals to address the lack of inter-company cooperation and standardisation in the telemetry sector, particularly focusing on monitoring operational assets by telemetry systems.

Recognising the need to investigate common protocols, a project team was set up consisting of a number of Water Management Organisations (WMOs) in conjunction with consultants from Grontmij and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The team immediately commenced work on what was to become the WITS DNP3 Protocol project.

The WITS management committee has worked with a core group of vendors to achieve this goal and standardise the way remote telemetry outstations communicate with the main system.

Malcolm Tyler, technical manager at Grontmij and chairman of the WITS management committee, said: “Until now, it has been difficult and costly to connect third party field devices to existing telemetry systems. The provision of a universal protocol will enable greater choice in selection of external devices, much the same as your computer USB port permits any compliant device to be connected to your computer.

“It has been a long road to get where we are today. Over the past seven years we have successfully established a strong, industry wide community to share ideas, concepts and learning. Working in partnership with our six leading manufacturers has not only allowed us to develop the standard, but also to create the first set of universal products ready for the market.”

“This is a significant and bold step for the water industry and we are indebted to the core team of users and vendors that have made this possible.”

The WITS Protocol Standards Association (PSA) will now take over from the project to provide a small community of users and vendors to manage the standard going forward. By joining the association, utility companies will be given full access to the standard and supporting documentation.

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