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Holistic Asset Management Improves Rural Water Co-op Field Work Efficiency

Rural Membership Water Corporation

Henryville, IN

Responsible for maintaining the water infrastructure for a growing population, a rural water co-op needed to improve how it organized and managed its assets. By incorporating a utility management tool, Rural Membership Water Corporation now has one source of truth for all of its assets and maintenance histories.

Topics Covered

Water Supply & Drought
Water Quality
Asset Management
Process Improvement

Cost

Initial: 11 Thousand USD

Funding

Taxes & User Fees

Project Status

Operational since 2021

Gov Champion

Water Utility Superintendent

Problem Addressed

Rural Membership Water Corporation needed a way to digitally collect its assets and improve asset management processes. 

Rural Membership Water Corporation (RMWC) is a non-profit water co-op that serves a population of approximately 8,200 people in the Louisville, KY area.

As a small organization, RMWC staff is responsible for all operations that would fall to a water utility including replacing water mains, repairing service line leaks, and managing billing services.

RMWC mapped and managed its assets with hard copy work orders for customer service requests and hand-drawn maps of field assets. The staff lacked a centralized tool that could store and track all of their data. As the population of their service area grew, the organization’s staff needed a way to digitally collect assets and make managing them easier.

Not only would digitizing assets help the water district perform its essential services, but also meet regulations from the EPA and Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). With increased attention around lead and copper in drinking water, water utilities were mandated to begin creating an online map, accessible to the public, that showed all service lines and the materials they were made of. These requirements reinforced the need for a holistic asset management tool.

Solutions Used

Rural Membership Water Corporation began using a system that enabled the easy collection and management of assets in the field.

RMWC has a small staff and therefore needed a new asset management solution that was easy to learn and quick to onboard.

They chose Ziptility for its water asset collection which allowed for asset mapping by category: meters, service lines, mains, hydrants, etc. Additionally, user-defined fields let RMWC staff tag certain information to assets, such as their age and the material they were made of, and then easily filter assets according to those fields.

RMWC’s previous GIS solution had limited usability with smartphones or tablets, restricting staff from being fully equipped while out in the field. Ziptility improved operations by providing a field-first solution that enables staff to go into the field with reliable information that’s readily available on multiple devices. The hand-drawn maps that were previously used to locate assets were uploaded as images to aid in identifying relevant landmarks in the field.

Asset management became more streamlined with staff being able to layer the maintenance history on top of individual assets and verify the last time an asset was worked on. It also meant that while out doing repairs or working on a new installation, RMWC staff could collect relevant hazard assets and color-code them for future visits so they can work around running fiber and electric lines. All of the information added to the system is immediately updated and stored for future reference.

Matt Shields, Superintendent for RMWC said, "Ziptility makes my job easier by putting valve, water main, and hydrant location and maintenance history data right at my fingertips. By being able to access more information in the field, my team has become more efficient when trying to get water restored to our customers."

Outcomes

1

Small rural water co-op now has a customizable way to digitize and manage its assets, ensuring that disruptions to the water supply can be restored quickly

2

Improved asset management and field work efficiency by tagging water infrastructure maintenance history and collecting hazard assets for inspection

3

Through its asset mapping, RMWC can easily provide the service line map in line with the EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management

4

Rural Membership Water Corporation has one source of truth for all of its assets and their relevant maintenance histories

5

RMWC can easily share a complete map and history of its assets with relevant parties

Something Unique

RMWC’s sewer counterpart, Henryville Memberships Sanitation Corp, gave the contractor for a manhole relining project access to Ziptility to update the maintenance history/photos for the relevant manholes.

Who Should Consider

Towns, cities, and water utilities in need of overhauling processes for mapping and managing assets to enable greater service delivery.

Last Updated

Apr 28th, 2022
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