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.
When I was hired in 1996 to develop Kelowna’s “Water Smart” program, I thought it would be easy to achieve the utility’s targets for reductions in water use. Surely the same marketing principles I used for General Motors and other clients could be applied to a water conservation program. I quickly found out how wrong I was.
As noted in “Preserving sustainable water supplies for future generations”, a feature in the July 2005 edition of the AWWA “Journal”, sustainability of the planet's water resources should always be a consideration when a water supply plan is developed.
“Ten primary trends and their implications for water utilities”, featured in the July 2005 edition of the AWWA “Journal”, provides 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.
During the next quarter century, water utilities in North America will face a number of developments that will put pressure on their resources, spur them to develop alternative supplies, and necessitate new approaches to how they conduct business. This article in the August edition of the AWWA “Journal”, the second in a series, highlights two of these trends—population growth and climate change.
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.
In 2004, the City of Williams Lake undertook a major review of its water utility and associated management practices. The resulting documents—the “Williams Lake Water Conservation Plan” and the “Waterworks Bylaw”—identify water management and water conservation strategies that will protect and preserve our valuable water resource well into the future.
Included in the November 2005 edition of the AWWA “Journal”, “Envisioning the future water utility” presents the findings of a Malcolm Pirnie Inc. 2004 national survey of 71 water utility industry experts, regarding their views on the future issues facing U.S. utilities. (While the survey was conducted in the U.S., many of the findings reflect the current and potential future states of the water industry in Canada.)