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Don’t Let Your Data Retire

David Brooks, ARWA Circuit Rider
David Brooks
ARWA Circuit Rider

By: David Brooks, Circuit Rider

He was at the shop 15 minutes before anyone else every morning, mainly because he liked the coffee made his way and the truck warm before we left. He was always looking out the passenger window as we rode the system, always looking for leaks. He could tell you the story behind almost every repair he’d ever made on the system. He knew every valve, meter, repair wrap, reducer, cap, and service line in the distribution system. He triangulated buried valves and other things worth remembering with power poles, trees, fenceposts, and whatever else wouldn’t
move over time, move much that is. He knew the distribution system better than anyone ever did, even the engineers.

And now……. he’s gone. Retired.

Chances are, if you don’t know “him”, you have heard about somebody like him. Now we are left with calling him on the phone from time to time. Usually while we are standing on the side of the road trying to find a valve, or a meter, usually at our wits end. He answers most of the time if he’s not out fishing, or if his wife didn’t make him go to the grocery store with her. Can you tell where this is going? Don’t you think it’s about time to capture his knowledge before it’s gone?

I’m speaking about a Geographic Information System (GIS). Some call it Asset Management. Some just simply maps. Whatever you want to call it, it’s an easy way to keep up with all those valves, meters, manholes, hydrants, any asset you can think of really? All that data “he” always knew. Sure, you may have some maps laying around at the water office, but how old are they?

Are they still relevant?

Whether it be paper map books for the crew trucks, computer based maps, or a large wall map for the conference room, the Alabama Rural Water Association can help you get all that information secured forever at sub meter accuracy. And they can help you keep it updated when changes are made. So, don’t let your data retire, let the ARWA help you manage your utility’s critical assets in the field.

Contact our office today for more information or ask an ARWA staff member the next time someone drops by. You can also find more information on our website www.alruralwater.com/services. This ARWA service will not be rendered by a licensed surveyor. The ARWA does not offer this service as a licensed surveyor or professional engineer, due to this fact a very reasonable rate can be offered.

First appeared in Waterline, Summer 2017

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Alabama Rural Water Association is a non-profit organization representing water and wastewater systems serving rural communities and towns and commercial firms which support these systems.

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