Smart Water System: DC

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-01-13 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Smart Water System: DC

As part of its Smart Water initiative, IBM in November 2009 announced that it and the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA) have been working together to modernize the management of the aging water and sewer infrastructure beneath the nation's capital. The sprawling infrastructure includes hundreds of thousands of assets such as water distribution pipes, valves, public fire hydrants, collection pipes, man holes and water meters, IBM said.

IBM's Global Business Services and Research units started the collaboration with DC WASA to integrate advanced analytics with asset management software from IBM and a mapping application from ESRI, an IBM business partner. IBM said the availability of real-time, map-based information and geo-analytics will help DC WASA engineers identify potential problems before they occur. This can be done by analyzing an enormous amount of data and uncovering patterns related to weather conditions, water use and hundreds of other variables, the company said.

"The work of water relies heavily on our ability to monitor our infrastructure," said George Hawkins, general manager of DC WASA. "We can now manage almost every component from central, computer-based systems. Our collaboration with IBM will help us streamline our workload and serve our customers better."

IBM said the new preventative measures, including converting to automated meter readers, have substantially reduced billing-related customer calls. And a future benefit of the project is that it will enable dispatchers to deploy crews based on where they are working and what areas need service. The system will also enable DC WASA to share and exchange data both internally for planning purposes and externally to assist other agencies, such as sharing real-time status of the more than 9,000 public hydrants in DC with the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

Based on data from the IBM Maximo software, the hydrant status and water flow capacity of each hydrant can be mapped and seen by the fire department via Google Earth. And as firefighters rush to the scene of a fire, they will know in advance the level of water flow to expect out of the hydrants in the vicinity.

"Our work with IBM has allowed our assets to communicate with us-and we're doing more than just listening, we're taking action," said Mujib Lodhi, CIO of DC WASA, in a statement. "Using IBM software, we're able to deploy our crews faster, which is key when there's water on the road or customers are without service. For day-to-day maintenance, the IBM software helps us to coordinate and plan our crews weeks ahead so we can work much more efficiently."

IBM said its project with DC WASA is part of the company's first-of-a-kind (FOAK) program, which pairs IBM's scientists with clients to explore how emerging technologies can solve real-world business problems.

DC WASA uses IBM's asset management software to manage all the wastewater treatment equipment, the water and sewer infrastructure at the Departments of Water and Sewer Services, the water quality issues maintained by the Water Quality Division, and permit plan reviews and developer permitting, IBM said. In addition, IBM officials said DC WASA's overall Enterprise Asset Management System is a combination of IBM Tivoli Maximo Enterprise Asset Management software and ESRI ArcGIS enterprise GIS (Geographic Information System) software.

DC WASA provides drinking water, wastewater collection and treatment to more than 500,000 residential, commercial and governmental customers in the District of Columbia, and also collects and treats wastewater for Montgomery and Prince Georges counties in Maryland and Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia.



 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date
Rocket Fuel