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Resources & Utilities

Piping in Real-Time Information

Trimble technology delivers a proactive path to water resiliency

Urban growth can be a boon for a city’s economy, infrastructure, education systems and living standards. However, if not managed in parallel, that same growth can also be taxing on those same benefits––particularly those systems related to infrastructure and city services. 

Escondido, Calif., has been on a rapid growth trajectory for the past few years. And as large pools of new residents have flowed in, the pressure on its municipal services has also swelled. The city currently distributes water services through 440 miles of 2- to 48-inch pipes to a population of over 150,000 residents and has 11 reservoir sites. Its water treatment plant treats local and imported sources to produce drinking water for its service area of 26,000 connections.

Committed to building and maintaining a resilient, safe and sustainable water supply, Escondido’s water utility managers have continually adopted technological innovations to monitor, adjust and balance its existing, aging water network. Although they have benefited from adopting Trimble’s Cityworks and Esri’s ArcGIS® for its asset management system (AMS), water managers recognized a real-time sensor-based information system would enable them to improve preventative maintenance procedures and increase operational awareness.

“If we can see pressure spikes happening, that’s risk,” said Rob Van De Hey, Escondido’s director of information systems and deputy city manager. “That’s a potential break or leak and that puts service levels at risk. With accurate, real-time field data, we could react in real time to a spike, preventing breaks and reducing the cost associated with that risk.”

Partnering again with Trimble, the city piloted a “system of action” program that focused on leveraging their investment in ArcGIS and water sensor data, location intelligence, and analytics tools. The solution was implemented by combining Cityworks and ArcGIS asset management solution with Trimble’s Telog® IoT pressure recorders and Trimble Unity Remote Monitoring software.

Enhancing its Cityworks AMS solution with the remote monitoring software and wireless data recorders provided water managers with the tools to proactively monitor asset performance, optimize water operations, reduce asset failure and repair costs, improve customer service, and gather critical telemetry data for reporting, regulatory compliance and capital planning.

“Now we get alerts and alarms when things happen throughout the system, which is crucial,” said Rico Jimenez, Escondido’s water distribution superintendent. “Some of the other pressure recorders we currently have can't get down to the millisecond and sometimes events aren't captured. Having that even flow of real-time information and alarms is invaluable and helps us make adjustments throughout the system.” 

The 24/7 insight also proved to be the key to solving a persistent problem with two pressure recorders that were consistently having breaks during the cold season. Have real-time and historical data, Jimenez was able to identify pressure transient spikes occurring overnight at those locations. That discovery allowed him to make needed adjustments to fine tune each one of the valves for that zone, restoring their integrity.

Most importantly, said Van De Hey, the monitoring and alerting solution is truly “actionable.” It brings in location awareness from the field to help them effectively maintain their system, create efficiencies, and build a strong, sustainable water supply. 

“For years, we’ve been going down that path and this was the next step in being more efficient, getting better at what we do, looking for cost savings and improving operations,” said Van De Hey. “By utilizing the Trimble technology, we’re creating more efficient workflows, targeting preventative maintenance and reacting to emergencies faster. We're more aware of what's going on. Rather than a reactive situation, we’ve developed a more proactive, real-time system management.”