SCADA, Telemetry and Control System Upgrade


The Whangarei District Council (WDC) needed an upgrade for their Water Services control systems, including the replacement of SCADA, PLCs, RTUs, and the communication network for multiple treatment plants and outstations. They required improved stability and speed of their wide area networks, enhanced data integrity, up-to-date hardware and cybersecurity solutions, a highly scalable software program, and improved processes.


McKay undertook a collaborative approach, starting with a detailed inventory and evaluation of existing installations. This included site inspections and the assessment of previous software and hardware configurations. By capturing all necessary information in a standardized format, decision-making during the subsequent requirements capture process was greatly facilitated.

To ensure optimal functionality and compatibility, a rigorous comparison of control hardware and software was conducted using a comprehensive set of ranking criteria. This evaluation led to the selection of standard parts and software packages for all future WDC water installations. The replacement of servers and networking equipment was carried out in collaboration with a specialized IT provider, resulting in a fast, robust, and scalable system that combined McKay’s control system and SCADA expertise with third-party IT expertise.

As part of the upgrade, McKay developed a comprehensive set of control system standards, including detailed guidelines on object models, programming conventions, and user interface design. These standards ensured consistency and efficiency throughout the upgraded system.

The installation and commissioning processes were meticulously organized and planned to minimize process downtime. Even the largest plant had a turnaround time of less than one week’s shutdown for the entire changeover.


The collaboration between McKay and the WDC resulted in successful outcomes for the upgrade of the Water Services control systems. The key achievements included:

Better Stability and Speed of Wide Area Networks: The upgraded system improved network stability and speed, ensuring efficient communication across the treatment plants and outstations.

Enhanced Data Integrity: The new system implemented reliable data monitoring and management, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of collected data.

Up-to-Date Hardware and Cybersecurity Solutions: The replacement of outdated hardware and the implementation of cybersecurity solutions ensured the system’s resilience against potential threats.

Highly Scalable Software Program: The new software program developed by McKay was highly scalable, allowing for future expansions and updates.

Improved Processes: The upgraded control systems and standardized guidelines improved the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the water services operations.

Overall, McKay’s expertise and collaborative approach successfully addressed the challenges faced by the Whangarei District Council, resulting in a seamless upgrade of the Water Services control systems and enhancing the reliability and effectiveness of their operations.