Lower Valley Water District's shift from paper-based systems to GIS-driven solutions revolutionizes water utility management and enhances operational efficiency.
Lower Valley Water District (LVWD) administrative building in Clint, Texas
Established in 1986, the Lower Valley Water District (LVWD) spans 544 square kilometers in El Paso County, Texas. They deliver water, wastewater and solid waste services to more than 70,000 people. Committed to providing safe water, sanitation and conservation, LVWD serves its residents and employees with top-quality service.
Collaborating with water districts like El Paso Water, LVWD engages in monitoring water usage and rights. Selling water rights in Texas involves legally transferring entitlements to use specific quantities of water. Despite residents selling these rights, unauthorized usage can still lead to violations. LVWD was prompted by El Paso Water to investigate rising water usage. LVWD IT Director Ryan Rodriguez's team was tasked to digitize the paper-based workflow and manual violation tracking system, seeking a technological remedy for these issues.
Despite selling their water rights, some residents in El Paso County tamper with water by using pumps and digging canals, causing floods on their land.
Relying on paper-based methods significantly hindered LVWD's capacity to substantiate water rights violations, posing significant challenges in accurately resolving disputes and monitoring usage patterns. Furthermore, the underutilization of existing GIS tools impacted the efficiency of data management and decision-making processes within the organization.
Under the guidance of LVWD's IT Director, a pivotal shift towards strategic GIS adoption unfolded, recognizing GIS technology as a fundamental tool for efficient water management. LVWD rolled out an organization-wide GIS training program by engaging Esri professional services for holistic integration and comprehension. Additionally, LVWD implemented a field map solution enabling field staff to swiftly document and report water rights violations in real-time.
Rodriguez’s team of mobile workers at the LVWD use a GIS-based app to report water rights violations in real-time.
LVWD embraced a vision to become a geospatially driven organization. Led by Rodriguez, they recognized the untapped potential of GIS tools. Their mission was to streamline operations, elevate efficiency, and tackle longstanding challenges in water management. Beyond water rights, LVWD extended GIS applications into billing, hydrant tracking, and waste management, broadening the scope of GIS applications within the organization.
The water rights app provides mobile and office with the same capabilities, enhancing collaboration and citation accuracy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, LVWD wanted to know how their employees’ health was being impacted. By leveraging ArcGIS Survey123 to monitor employee health, the HR team collaborated with Rodriguez to create a daily form. If illness or contact with sick individuals was reported, the HR manager was immediately notified. Utilizing existing tools kept costs low and ensured a rapid implementation of this crucial solution.
The collaboration between LVWD and Esri has become the cornerstone of their success. This partnership underscores the value of external support and expertise in driving technological adoption. It showcases the significance of unified efforts in seamlessly integrating GIS into utility systems.
The GIS-driven approach yielded remarkable results, identifying and substantiating 92 violations within the first few months, thereby streamlining investigations and bolstering the accuracy of findings. This success fostered organization-wide adoption, with multiple LVWD departments embracing GIS technology, subsequently enhancing operational efficiency. The evident success led to increased demand from various departments seeking similar GIS-driven solutions, amplifying the adoption and utilization of advanced technology within the organization.
LVWD's remarkable journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of GIS technology in revolutionizing water utility management. LVWD's journey through technology adoption, innovation and collaborative partnerships serves as an inspiring roadmap for professionals seeking to redefine utilities and lead transformative change.
Esri video: Esri Water User Group Meeting 2021, “Adoption of GIS and Field Applications at Lower Valley Water District” (28:40)
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