SaskWater Case Study

Closes the Information Gap Between Head Offices and Remote Testing Sites by Using Web-Based WaterTrax

Having the information available in a timely and accurate manner gives me confidence in dealing with stakeholders, and especially when talking to our customers...

Darin Orb, Senior Technologist, Saskwater

The Challenge

On the Canadian prairies, where distances between communities can be great, governments are taking advantage of new tools permitting them to manage and consolidate water quality data for both local and head office purposes.  A case in point is SaskWater, Saskatchewan’s Crown Water Utility which provides services to municipalities and private customers. SaskWater builds and operates public water supply and wastewater systems and operates and maintains customer owned systems.

The Solution

When new water utility regulations came into effect at the beginning of 2004 requiring increased monitoring, testing and reporting, SaskWater sought help from WaterTrax in managing water quality data for Wakaw-Humboldt, a regional supply system serving almost 10,000 residents in ten communities located across the central area of the province. The results have been more than managers bargained for. “We didn’t expect it,” says Darin Orb, Senior Technologist, “but WaterTrax is now part of our training program and a supplement to our training manuals and tools.”  “Both new and existing employees want to use the service because it’s so easy to click the mouse and get information on analytes and their health implications when they need them. ”SaskWater needed to find a way to record water quality test results from diverse communities in such a way that its head office and satellite offices would have immediate access to the information for the preparation of monthly reports. Regulations require utilities to maintain operational logs of test results for five years. “Because WaterTrax is web-based it allows SaskWater staff easy access to information and the ability to collaborate on system operation,” says Mr. Orb. “It allows me to always be on top of my water quality test results – even when I’m travelling.”

The system’s alert function gives him the confidence to leave the office without worrying that a danger signal may be overlooked in his absence. “Since several of us are on WaterTrax,” he says, “I can be assured that nothing will be missed.”  SaskWater’s concerns over a startup learning curve were quickly resolved, says Mr. Orb. “We found that the setup was easy and our staff was able to catch on very quickly.” Compared to the old spreadsheet system, mistakes were being avoided and time spent on data entry had been cut in half.

The Benefits

Darin Orb, SaskWater’s Senior Technologist, says WaterTrax introduced the company to the latest technology for water quality data management without a substantial investment by it in either capital or operating costs. “Having the information available in a timely and accurate manner gives me confidence in dealing with stakeholders,” he says, “and especially when talking to our customers.” Because of its success in Wakaw-Humboldt, SaskWater expanded the use of WaterTrax to five additional water systems in Saskatchewan.

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