Marana Water News: Partnership - Water and Technology Services

All the town departments work together meeting service needs for the community. We have mentioned how Marana Water works with Parks and Rec and Development Services. This week we highlight our partnership with the Technology Services department.

One of the internal services for the town, the Tech Services team consists of men and women who are working to keep the entire Town’s technology running smoothly. This can take the shape of our phone system, police computer and recording equipment, and all the programs and software used by the water department. The department is divided into two divisions; hardware/equipment and applications. We work closely with both divisions to reach our customer service goals.

At the water department we have a few systems that are vital to operations; our SCADA system, billing software, and our GIS system. Tech Services helps to ensure they are all running smoothly and efficiently. While the water department develops the needs, plans and configuration of these programs, the TS team will help make sure there is enough storage space and that the program is compatible with other operating systems among other requirements for a successful implementation. Our billing system retains all the customer account data, payment history, meter reading history and maintenance records for each account. When we were setting up our online bill-payment system, we worked closely with TS on the importing/exporting and security of this data. Additionally, we have an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system. This software collects the radio signals set out from our meters during the monthly meter reading. Our staff here in the office, takes the data and run through several processes to calculate a customer’s bill. The program that collects this data also identifies GPS coordinates for our water meters, which is very helpful when helping customers find leaks or other water related inquiries at their home. 

SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. This is the program that gathers real time data from our water and wastewater system monitoring for any unanticipated changes. For example, a pump might be set to turn on when the water level in a reservoir gets to a certain point. If, for some reason, the pump does not turn on, or turns on too soon, there is an alert through the SCADA software. The hardware required is included in each one of our new construction projects. By keeping the SCADA system running properly, we can avoid any serious outages, lost water, or expensive operations. The image to the right shows an example of the program interface. Our staff review the settings and are able to adjust the equipment where appropriate.

Our Geographic Information System (GIS) is one of the strongest tools the Town has. The data housed in this program can generate water demand projections that use existing water meter locations, highlight future planning and zoning data, and track new construction projects. While we are continually updating the system, and working to make it better each day, these types of data projects are in the near future. The operations team looks for GIS data when marking water lines for Arizona 811, and the engineering team uses it to make determinations on where to establish new water connections.

Technology is a part of all of our lives, and the water department is no different. Working together with the Technology Services team, we can generate efficiencies in our business and operations processes while striving to continually provide reliable water service.

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