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Small Utility, Big Impact: LVWD's GIS Journey Toward Operational Excellence

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 administrative building in Clint, TX

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.

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.  

Quote: “I am a problem-solver, the first thing I look at is GIS and see the tools that [Esri] provides to figure out a solution because it is a great tool.” Ryan Rodriguez, LVWD IT Director


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.  

Quote: “Access to information from the field has changed how we work; staff no longer need to return to the office to search through files. Everything that has been brought into the GIS helps us to analyze data quicker and understand what’s going on in the system.” Daniel Hernandez, LVWD Project Engineer 

Rodriguez’s team of mobile workers at the Lower Valley Water District (LVWD) use a GIS-based app to 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.

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.  

Quote: “Esri Services has been so vital to [our] getting applications out quickly. The tools, applications, and the support provided has really helped. I would say it wouldn't be possible without them." Ryan Rodriguez, LVWD IT Director

 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.  

Quote: "I think [GIS] has made everyone more efficient and just drove more adoption of the technology,everyone is using it now. GIS and IT is a match made in heaven.”  Ryan Rodriguez, LVWD IT Director

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.  



Utility Uses Mobile GIS to Prove Water Rights Violations  

Lower Valley Water District's Journey to Becoming Geospatially Driven  

Problem-Solving at a Small Utility  

Esri video: Esri Water User Group Meeting 2021, “Adoption of GIS and Field Applications at Lower Valley Water District”  (28:40)

ArcGIS Velocity amalgamates various ArcGIS products like ArcGIS Collector, Workforce, Field Maps, and others into a unified platform for real-time analytics and big data processing, monitoring, and data-driven insights in a single solution. It allows you to import, visualize, analyze, store, and use data from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors.  

About the Author

Rosalyn Laiken is a Marketing Specialist for Esri Canada. She focuses on industry solutions marketing and is passionate about exploring the intersection of technology with people. She has two decades of international marketing experience in IT marketing, as well as C-level marketing consulting. Rosalyn holds a bachelor of commerce majoring in marketing from Carleton University. She lived in South Korea and Australia for eight years, and loves using real-time spatial data while paragliding. When she is not glued to her computer, Rosalyn enjoys yoga, travelling, live music and exploring new cuisines.

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