Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2016 - (Page 31)

DePartMeNt: teCHNOlOGY GIS and the 5 ws BY DavID tOtMaN, eSrI Did you know that by using a Geographic Information System (GIS), you can answer the classic set of questions to your water system problems: Where?, What?, Why?, Who?, When?, and How? 1 Where Let's start with where. Most know that GIS is used to create maps and therefore where is an obvious answer. GIS is used to locate your infrastructure. Configurable tools allow you to create and maintain information about your pipes, valves, hydrants - any asset. This information is stored in a geodatabase - a database that uses geography to store the assets. In asset management systems, this is known as the asset registry. Knowing where your assets are is half of the asset management picture. You can't manage your assets if you don't know how many you have and where they are. GIS has many office and mobile field tools to collect and verify your assets. Many geodatabases in the office have been built from paper records such as blueprints or digital CAD drawings. However this data is only as good as the extent that it represents truth in the field. Therefore GIS includes mobile field solutions that allow office data to be taken into the field, validated on-site, and then synchronized back to the office for update into the asset registry. Field data collection can greatly increase the accuracy of your asset locations when collected with a Global Positioning System (GPS). A geodatabase not only knows where your assets are, it also knows where the roads are, property boundaries, corrosive soils, etc. if the data is available from other departments in your utility or government organizations. This is very helpful in answering the other questions. 2 What Answering what is going on with your assets is the other half of the asset management picture. This includes recording work done on water main breaks, valve exercising, hydrant flushing, etc. There are Computer Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) that help you record work, timesheets, materials used, etc. GIS is not a CMMS in its own right, but is the system of records to any successful CMMS. Work can be recorded to an address, but this is not very useful when there may be multiple buried pipes in the street. Recording exactly what pipe was worked on helps determine asset performance over time and can only be achieved with a GIS based CMMS. 3 Why With budgets being tight and having more infrastructure need than funding being the norm, using a crystal ball to predict future water main breaks or valve failures would be quite handy. Using a GIS, you can predict the future by understanding why an asset has failed. Chances are 100 percent of your system has not failed yet. For whatever percentage that has, you can analyze the why and then extrapolate to the rest of the system to predict if and when more breaks may occur. Many experienced field personnel can look at a water main break and tell if the failure rural water 31

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2016

From the President
Careers in Rural Water
Water University
Credential from Water U Helps Land the Job
Lessons in Water
Finance: Tracking Down Non-Revenue Water
Technology: GIS and the 5 Ws
Emergency Management: Drought to Flood: Oklahoma
A Day in the Life of a Circuit Rider
Four Key Benefits to Incorporating Cellular Technology into Your Utility Management System
The WaterPro Online Community
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers/
From the CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 2, 2016