Fusion Reactor, the sole Macromedia-approved ISP in South Africa, has  implemented a Web-based river information system for the Komati River Basin Water Authority (Kobwa) to assist water users in the region with their usage planning.

Kobwa is a bi-national agency of the governments of the Kingdom of Swaziland and the Republic of South Africa. Created under the 1992 Treaty on the Development and Utilisation of the Water Resources of the Komati River Basin, Kobwa is tasked with the implementation of phase 1 of the Komati River Basin Development Project. This phase comprises the construction of the Maguga Dam in Swaziland and the Driekoppies Dam in South Africa.
According to Enoch Dlamini, manager of the water management department at Kobwa, the authority has to monitor and ensure the equitable supply of water to the two countries as determined by the Treaty. In addition, a reasonable share of the water from the Komati River must be allowed to flow into Mozambique.
"We also had to focus on the needs of downstream users like farmers and communities who are dependent on water from the river for domestic and livestock watering purposes," Dlamini says.
“We identified the need for a simple river information system that would assist these users with their water usage planning so that they could pump water at the correct times and prevent over usage which impacts on users further downstream."
Fusion Reactor, adds Dlamini, was the obvious choice to develop a solution as the company’s subsidiary, Tin Roof Creations, developed the authority’s Web presence.
Grant Jackson, marketing director of Fusion Reactor, adds: "We focus on the Macromedia product set, which delivers technologies that are not only cutting edge, but ready for use in creating business applications.
"The advantage is that this enables Fusion Reactor to match established technologies with new technologies to create the best solutions. In the case of Kobwa the best solution was a Web-based graphical representation of the water system."
The company chose to develop a vectored Flash-based map of the system due to the advantages vectored imaging holds over traditional, static graphical formats like gifs.
"Users simply place their mouse over a particular measuring station on the map, for example a weir, and information on water flow, content, evaporation, etc. is automatically generated.
"As we accumulate data, users are able to view and compare key information, such as this year's flow at a particular station against that recorded at the same station last year. More detailed information, clearly presented in either three dimensional graphical or tabular format, is easily accessibly by simply clicking on the measuring station," Jackson says.
Adds Dlamini: "Fusion Reactor liased closely with our water management consultants, Maguga Dam Joint Venture (MDJV), to determine which stations and what information to include with additional input supplied by water users. All this was carried out under the supervision of Kobwa Water Management personnel."
To ensure a smooth and automatic flow of the data, Fusion Reactor created a template, which is filled out by Kobwa officials and sent to a hosted Cold Fusion MX server (a server platform designed to create Web services). The server places the data into a database, which connects to a XML Web service feed, which, in turn, populates the Flash content on the website.
The advantage of using Flash, says Jackson, is that besides being available on the Kobwa website, the information can also be displayed on a cellular phone or personal digital assistant (PDA).
"The Fusion Reactor solution allows the users to get the information they need without effort or any training," says Dlamini. "We receive feedback from users on a continuous basis and updates to the system are made as required. In short it is an ongoing project, but, to date, we’ve had a positive response from all the  stakeholders."