Management tools at your fingertips: Tapping the power of the web

Posted January 2006

By Brian M. Balchunas and Charles E. Hucks

All utilities at one time or another find it necessary to upgrade facilities and expand capacity, especially as water and wastewater service needs continue to increase with the demands of growing populations. As utilities undertake such projects, engineers and operators enter a world of old records, manuals, and drawings—often stored in a confusing disarray—looking for information to help make a project more efficient and therefore more cost-effective. Conversely, the time it takes to find this information and then convert it to a usable format can diminish its benefit.

But, as reported in Management tools at your fingertips: Tapping the power of the web (May 2005 AWWA Journal), advances in web technology and associated computer programs have created the ability to convert and store massive amounts of information, thus providing utilities with efficient access to information critical to making accurate upgrades. These new technologies can also save massive amounts of physical space that was once occupied by old documents, and make the information contained in those documents readily available to project managers and engineers during daily operations and inevitable upgrades. In this article, the authors explain how a number of online applications and the latest computer technologies were used to create a high level of information accessibility during a major water treatment plant upgrade.

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