It may seem archaic, but prior to the development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), utilities managed their assets by using paper-based systems.
Paper maps were used to track infrastructures such as piping and main valves. Work orders were handwritten and, instead of being submitted immediately which is important when emergency work needs to be done, were turned in by hand at the end of a workday. Invoicing, billing and data analysis were completed by hand or necessitated printing or downloading to a disc for sharing.
Even more surprising is that today many public and private utilities are still using paper-based systems to manage assets.
This is the situation that the Mission Springs Water District found itself eight years ago. The district started digitizing its assets in 2004 but still had separate systems rather than one integrated way to manage its overall workflow. This is when Nobel Systems stepped in to provide Mission Springs with an integrated GIS water management system using its flagship product, GeoViewer.
Mission Springs Water District Infrastructure
The Mission Springs Water District is comprised of 135 square miles in the City of Desert Hot Springs and Riverside County. District assets include 1.25 million feet of pipelines, 14 water wells, and 24 reservoirs.
The district provides potable water for domestic use and irrigation for residential and commercial properties, and wastewater sewer collection and treatment for 13,350 water and 8,000 sewer customers.
In addition to its existing infrastructure, there are approximately 5,000 septic systems located in the City of Desert Hot Springs. A Sewer Improvement Project plan for converting those septic systems into sewer conveyance and wastewater treatment systems would add an additional 60.35 miles of pipeline to the district’s existing infrastructure.
The District’s Challenges
The district did not have any type of asset management or CMMS (Computer Maintenance Management System) in place that would give it a simple way to track maintenance and repair work, and costs.
“We had multiple independent systems,” said Danny Friend, Director of Engineering and Operations for MSWD.
Friend noted that much of the district’s asset management, such as payroll, inventory, and tracking repair work systems, had to be completed by hand or by using separate software systems.
How Nobel Systems Provided a Solution
Nobel Systems’ GeoViewer Online and Mobile software are the main components of its GIS Cloud Solution for utility asset management. The Mission Springs Water District also uses Nobel’s GeoViewer Asset Management solution for managing work orders on mobile in the field and on desktop in the office.
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The District uses GeoViewer for mapping and to access several maintenance modules, including valve maintenance, hydrant flushing, air valve maintenance, sewer line cleaning, water loss monitoring, and pressure sensor monitoring.
“We also have a Public Viewer portal allowing the public to access key information minimizing the need for resources,” Friend said.
“It has streamlined the process, increasing overall operational efficiency and provided a platform to perform essential programs and keep records,” he said.
“We no longer have to print or go to a file drawer and retrieve the one and only Xerox copy of an item to make more copies. Workers no longer have to carry clipboards in the field to hand write work orders and then pass it through to four people in a chain, finally handing it to someone to input into a datasheet.”
“The bigger picture is, at the end of the day, end of the week, the end of the year, I can look at the analytics instantly, in real time.”
More information about the Mission Springs Water District can be obtained at the Website mswd.org.
More information on Nobel Systems can be obtained by visiting the Website Nobel-Systems.com.