Improves Efficiency and Costs Associated with Water Quality Information Management by Implementing WaterTrax
A staff member’s time formerly spent on organizing data and building reports was reduced from 50 hours to 14 hours per month I no longer feel like I’m on a never-ending treadmill of water quality data reporting.
Kelowna, the largest city in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, draws water from Lake Okanagan for 50,000 customers served by the city’s water utility. Technicians perform more than 1,250 individual tests each month at the City’s laboratory, including daily testing for total coliforms and E.coli. The City submits monthly test results to the provincial health authority. Two external laboratories audit city tests.
Before subscribing to the WaterTrax service Kelowna measured the costs of water quality reporting in terms of time and effort as well as money. Efficient gathering, screening and storing of water quality data was being frustrated by the limitations of spreadsheet manipulation. Problems continued even after Kelowna developed its own in-house database. Neither the old spreadsheet system nor the replacement system could accept data directly from independent laboratories or measure results against regulatory standards. Intended users did not make full use of the database with the result that data was not entered and specific reporting formats were left undeveloped.
In February of 2002 Kelowna adopted the WaterTrax service, streamlining the management of water quality data. A staff member’s time formerly spent on organizing data and building reports was reduced from 50 hours to 14 hours per month. “I no longer feel like I’m on a never-ending treadmill of water quality data reporting,” says Marianne Toma, Kelowna’s Water Quality Technician. Administrative time saved is spent on value-added tasks.
“We no longer have to waste time making reports presentable,” says Kelowna’s Pump Operations Supervisor, Adrian Weaden. “WaterTrax has adequate reports and the ability to transfer to Excel if we want to dress them up.”
“The implementation of an ASP is definitely quick and easy with no road blocks,” says Mr. Weaden. In less than a week one staff member configured the system to track water quality test results from about 50 facilities and 100 sampling points, and entered two months of test results into the database.
Kelowna staff began using the service immediately once the WaterTrax subscription was activated — without installing any software or involving the city’s IT staff.
Kelowna has dramatically cut the cost of water quality information management and reporting with WaterTrax. But, perhaps more importantly, mundane administrative tasks have been reduced and record-keeping practices improved, reflecting Kelowna’s progressive outlook.