Over the last few years, upgrades to intake screening facilities and pressure reducing stations in the District of Lake Country have increased efficiency and safety, which has allowed operators to meet the new demands with no net increase in staff. To continue this trend, the district has begun a program of integrating and automating operation facilities.
Water is a precious thing. Williams Lake is blessed with an abundant source of fresh, clean water that’s relatively easy to extract and distribute. Unfortunately, like any good thing, our water supply is not infinite. During the past two years, the City of Williams Lake has worked hard to determine just how much water there is, and how to best manage it to ensure adequate supplies for future generations.
In last year’s Water Conservation Plan, the City of Williams Lake committed itself to following a three-step program for water conservation.
The Black Mountain Irrigation District (BMID) provides domestic water to 20,000 people and irrigation water to 4,100 acres of agriculture on the east benchlands of Kelowna. BMID draws from Mission Creek, which is the most significant creek feeding Okanagan Lake.
Most water utility managers don’t classify public outreach as an integral part of utility management. But, that’s an “unfortunate attitude because experience clearly demonstrates the value of devoting public outreach resources on major issues and projects early on instead of after the fact.”
Even in “water-rich” Canada, many jurisdictions are having trouble providing adequate, clean fresh water as their populations not only grow, but also exhibit higher expectations for water availability and water safety. The conventional approach to such problems accepted the history of constantly growing demand for water and responded by extending pipelines, constructing more dams and drilling deeper.
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.
An up-to-date customer information system (CIS) is an essential component of an effective water utility business. These systems are responsible for a wide range of key business activities including billing, managing credit and collections, tracking water consumption, and responding to customers' needs.
The authors provide an overview of the top ten water utility future trends identified through an assessment of the literature, interviews with public water supply community leaders, and a futures workshop featuring futurists and scenario planning exercises.
The increasing pressure on water utilities to meet growing regulatory expectations is well known. Customers are also clamoring for utilities' attention, demanding service, safety, and taste, and creating pressure from a different direction. Utilities' primary competition is the bottled water industry because of a public perception of greater safety and better taste.