Residents in New Mexico rely on uninterrupted water service to beat the desert heat. The state’s largest water utility is on a mission to meet and preempt the needs of its customers by using smart digital solutions.
“When it comes to water pressure management, proactivity is key,” said Joel Berman, chief engineer of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. “We keep our customers happy by remotely monitoring their water consumption and pressure to ensure any potential issues are identified before they experience them.”
The utility began deploying advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) from Sensus, a Xylem brand, in 2011. Most recently they’ve added another layer of technology to continuously monitor and manage water pressure in near real-time from their computers. The cloud-hosted Sensus Analytics Pressure Profile application receives reports from ally® residential water meters via the FlexNet® communication network to collect water pressure data.
The Water Authority team simply logs onto a computer and opens the Pressure Profile application to view the latest data from smart meters and sensors on a map-based interface. Pressure zones, key assets and colored sensor icons offer a visual pulse of the system.
“This technology has taken many steps out of our typical pressure management process, including administrative tasks and truck rolls,” said Patrick Bayardo, an operations and maintenance superintendent at the Water Authority. “Now, we simply log into the website in the morning and the data is right at our fingertips. It’s a big time-saver for us.”
The Water Authority also uses the battery-powered Sensus® Smart Gateway Sensor Interface at pressure-reducing valve sites to monitor water distribution system performance. The application’s integration with FlexNet allows seamless data collection that is then aggregated into map-based graphs that visually depict pressure zones and levels within the community at any given time. Automated alerts notify utility crews when pressure deviations occur, and they can begin investigating the situation from the convenience of the Water Authority offices.
“The application is really a plug-and-play system. It’s a seamless solution that our technicians have adopted, installed and programmed without third-party assistance,” said Berman.
The adoption of Xylem technology has resulted in tactical shifts for the service provider to continuously improve operations.
“I’m proud to say that in the last decade we’ve collectively transitioned from being reactive to highly proactive with regards to water distribution pressures. These days, if we don’t identify an issue before the customer, something is wrong. It’s not just about monitoring the pressure; it’s about changing the way we do business,” said Berman.
Those changes save the staff time and can lead to quicker repairs. “Now we can pinpoint areas and resolve potential water issues within hours in what used to take weeks,” said Bayardo.
To learn more about how Xylem technology has aided the Water Authority’s tactical approach to water pressure management, read the full case study.