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Improved Water Quality and More Field Time Due to a 97% Reduction in Office Admin Work

Marin County, CA, USA
Aquatic Informatics

Government Champion

Supervisor, Reclamation & Backflow

Project Status

Operational since 2018

Keywords

water supply
Water reclamation
Drinking water
backflow prevention
cross-connection control program

Challenges Addressed

Water Supply & Drought
Water Quality
Digital Government

Motivation

Smart city
Resilient city

Funding / Financing

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Type

Technology

At a Glance

Maintaining safe drinking water for communities is the singular focus of the local water district team. Staff was able to cut office administration by 97% and focus their efforts in the field— not the office by managing their multifaceted program to be more simple, reliable, and cost-effective.

Problem Addressed

The resources required to effectively manage over 60,000 service connections within the district's cross-connection program were substantial, presenting a ripe opportunity for automation. After evaluating the fully-loaded costs associated with outdated workflows, Marin Municipal Water District in California sought out solutions to recover significant program costs. Additionally, they wanted to empower staff with tools to modernize their workflows and devote more time to engaging with their community.

Marin Municipal Water District used/is using Tokay for cost-effective and efficient cross-connection control to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Marin Municipal Water District implemented Tokay software to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts. Upon implementation, staff quickly reclaimed nearly 80 hours of time each month. The beneficial impacts extended to other departments as well; with a centralized and accessible database of backflow devices integrated with the District’s billing software, it quickly became a ‘single source of truth’ that informed other business systems like SAP, GIS, and Microsoft Office products.

With the reduction of paperwork and data entry associated with the testing of backflow assemblies, customer notices, and reporting, they were able to eliminate 97% of tedious administration while improving the quality of work. The team could then refocus their attention back to what they do best: safeguarding the region's water supply.

"Keeping water quality safe for human consumption is a singular focus for the local water district team. Today, managing that multifaceted program has become much simpler thanks to Tokay— allowing staff to spend more time in the field instead of the office", mentioned Dewey Sorensen, then Supervisor of Reclamation and Backflow at Marin Municipal Water District.

Cumbersome tasks like printing and mailing customer notices or reporting using paper files became significantly less time-consuming and expensive, ultimately saving taxpayers more than $117,000 annually that can be reinvested back into the community while improving the effectiveness of the program and ensuring a sustainable framework to support the growing population.

Monthly reporting and ad hoc requests for information are now just a few clicks away, often accessed by the team via iPad. The same is true for third party testers in the field— electronic test submissions and database queries information on a specific backflow assembly or location are possible from any connected device. However the District remains in control of their data, with ability to restrict access and validate test data before processing a submission.

Outcomes

  1. More than $117,000 annual savings in staff hours by moving to software for more efficient backflow device inspections and program administration.
  2. Staff reclaimed nearly 80 hours of time each month through a centralized database of backflow devices that informed other business systems like SAP, GIS and Microsoft Office products.
  3. Optimized and resilient operations to empower a remote workforce and growing population to ensure streamlined reporting and clean drinking water.
  4. Online access to leverage their iPads in the field to access device details and record test results on site.

Lessons Learned

  1. Implementing purpose-built software significantly reduced the time required for office administration and empowered their field work.

Something Unique

By launching a smart-city strategy and digitizing information at the point of entry, the team improved the quality of data, reduced errors, and created online access for inspection details and other city systems to integrate into for a complete contextual understanding of the program's success and the health of their water system.

Who Should Consider?

Municipalities that want to optimize operations, regain trust in their water data, and ensure resiliency in providing drinking water to communities.

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