Digital Data Improves Water Utility Management,
Case studies and Best Practices to get from Paper to digital data, by Gary Lassin and Keith Frazier, BirdNest Services, Inc.
Most Water/Wastewater utility managers at municipalities and service companies feel confident they are doing a good job tracking and maintaining their systems and planning for capital projects. Even though technology has affected many facets of the industry, operators everywhere are still recording data on paper log sheets. Then someone has to transcribe that data onto computer spreadsheets, and then someone has to transcribe that data again for reports that must be generated to submit to authorities on a timely basis. This part of the job has not changed much in decades.
This presentation describes best practices for Water/Wastewater utility information management and evaluates the benefits of using digital data. With digital data there is far less opportunity for errors, since it reduces the inherent inefficiencies of paper logs and data transcription.
We cover the important questions to ask and things that need to be considered when evaluating digital solutions. We look at how data is collected and present three case studies to demonstrate how digital systems are being used successfully by utility managers:
A hands-on manager at a contract operating company managing several Municipal Utility Districts uses a digital data system to monitor production, distribution, collection and treatment. The digital system gives him a better handle on daily operations and changed his month end reporting process from days to hours, delivering real time and money savings.
A regional utility director, responsible for 3 water and wastewater systems uses digital data to run system-wide reports, graph results and monitor trends. Easy access to data enables him to document problems and illustrate solutions to his management, the regional board and other stakeholders.
A city utility superintendent managing a rapidly expanding water and wastewater system uses digital data to provide easy access to historical data. Access to timely, useable and reliable data allows them to design sophisticated dynamic models to support their long-range capital improvement programs.
Digital data systems provide stakeholders with the information they need when they need it. Having data at hand equals less guess work and saves money. After this presentation, attendees will recognize areas for improvement at their water/wastewater operations and will take away a 4 step model they can use to evaluate the benefits of a digital data system.