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Special Achievement in GIS Award

2017 SAG Award Winners

Opelika Utilities

Project Goal

With drought conditions worsening in the South, Opelika Utilities began taking a closer look into potential revenue issues and how to find solutions that would help save the utility both time and money. While many utilities are concerned about water loss due to leaky infrastructure, losses of this kind are under accepted industry standards. Instead, non-operational meters are the primary concern for non-revenue water.
Each day there is a report of over 14,000-meter readings, and every month, one individual in the office would spend 8 hours going through the report by hand to look for high readings and potential non-operating meters. As anyone could imagine, this process led to the possibility of a lot of information slipping through the cracks and an estimated revenue loss of $100,000 every month. They needed an automated way to review meter readings, analyze, and automatically generate work orders so that non-operating meters could be attended to.
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Business Problem Solved

A fully automated web GIS based system was built, which runs a script to recognize when meters showed no usage readings three months in a row. The script also recognizes irrigation meters and does not evaluate these during winter months. The system automatically flags non-functioning meters and notifies an Opelika Utilities manager, via email, to alert a service crew to check the meter to determine if it is, in fact, non-operational – or determining other causes, such as needed maintenance. Both new and previously identified non-operational meters are displayed on an operations dashboard so that managers have a visual understanding of where these issues are occurring. This provides additional context to help determine potential causes, priorities, and desired response. Opelika Utilities is now able to quickly identify, inspect, and replace non-operational meters to reduce revenue loss.

Technology Implemented

With the aid of Platinum Partner GISinc, Opelika Utilities has transformed their paper processes into an enterprise ArcGIS platform. Using ArcGIS for Water Utilities data editing tools, they were able to go from a 10% capture of their asset registry into 95% within 6 months. SCADA integration, leak investigator, and valve isolation trace along with another Platinum Partner's solution, Cityworks, as their CMMS were also utilized in the project work.

Development Team Biography

Opelika: Alan Lee

GISinc:
Core Team:
Zeb Steeby
Christopher Blinn
Heather Roberts

Support Team:
Thomas Wilson
Will Byrne
Carolyn Defoore
Chad Cooper
Emily Ranft
Craig Frost
Lisa Spencer
Kent Williams

No longer at GISinc:
Christopher Fricke
Nik Zisk
Justin Burns
Benjamin King
Josh Gumm
Greg Burda

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