We’re throwing it back on the GIS blog today to back in 2014, when our GIS team helped the Village of Howard to more efficiently and accurately keep track of water meters and water usage!
In 2007, the Village of Howard, Wisconsin began receiving water from Central Brown County Water Authority (CBCWA). A consortium of 7 Brown County communities, CBCWA was formed to address declining groundwater levels and increasing water quality issues within the greater Green Bay area. CBCWA receives its water from the City of Manitowoc Public Utilities. The initial cost of infrastructure, combined with the cost to treat and distribute the water to the authority communities make CBCWA water a more expensive supply option than the previous utility owned groundwater wells.
To address an increasing amount of non-revenue water (water purchased from CBCWA but not sold to village utility customers), the Village of Howard conducted a water audit in 2011 to identify potential ways to improve its accountability. In summary the audit identified the following issues:
- A significant number of its existing service meters were not recording accurately.
- The utility’s existing records were not completely accurate
- There was a disconnection and often a difference between existing utility and billing records
The village decided to begin a meter replacement program that might address these findings. However, they discovered that although the new meter technology may provide for greater metering accuracy, it did not necessarily address the needs for better record keeping nor eliminate the potential for data discrepancies between the utility and billing departments. The village then began to look for ways to more efficiently and effectively manage the meter program. After unsuccessfully attempting to create a suitable Access database, the village retained Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M) to develop a management tool that would integrate into the Village’s existing GIS.
The Water Meter Tool R/M designed allows field staff to create an electronic record during meter installation that will eliminate the old paper service cards the utility is currently using. The electronic record will improve efficiency by eliminating additional steps necessary to process the paper records and will provide a commonly shared data link directly with billing staff.
The meter tool also has an integrated cross connection inspection and tracking tool to, at the same time, help the utility more efficiently manage its cross connection control program.