We can be more, together.
We can be more, together.

Becoming a Connected Utility: Sedarū® Enables Real-Time Communications, Operational Efficiencies

Becoming a Connected Utility:  Sedarū® Enables Real-Time Communications, Operational Efficiencies

Setting the Stage for Sedarū

Serving approximately 21,300 accounts, the Indio Water Authority (IWA) in Indio, California operates in the state’s Coachella Valley desert. This location is somewhat unique as IWA operates in an arid climate, with very little elevation difference in its service area. As such, it’s important for IWA to conserve and account for the precious resource it provides to its customers, while efficiently delivering drinking water with limitations related to gravity storage for its water supply. To this end, it sought innovative ways to maximize its water resources, leverage its water infrastructure investment, and maximize operational efficiencies across its distribution network.

Those efforts began when Luis Cardenas, P.E., IWA Senior Water Engineer, collaborated with Paul Hauffen, Founder and CEO of IDModeling, to develop what would become Sedarū® software. According to Hauffen, the two aimed to “unlock and apply valuable information from IWA systems persistently – systems that posed access challenges.” He added that the need for planning drove the innovation: the where and why of pipe placement, along with how to quantify the needs and benefits of a given project. This, in turn, would help set priorities for capital investment.

Cardenas’ initial concern was that “upper management was not getting all the information they needed to make well-informed decisions. They’d have to really search for it, with no way to tie it all together.”

IWA General Manager Brian Macy, P.E., experienced that problem firsthand: “If we wanted to look at the SCADA system, we would need to log into SCADA.  In terms of work management, if we wanted to direct valve maintenance, for example, we need to use our Cityworks® asset management system. If we wanted to detect leaks at certain meters, we would need to go into Neptune’s AMR (automatic meter reading) software.”

Shared, Analyzed Data Across the Utility

How could all these functions be brought together, allowing IWA to make better, more informed decisions faster?  Macy and his team asked IDModeling for a solution – one that would enable interdepartmental communications in real-time. Not only would upper management benefit, but so would engineering, operations, maintenance, and customer service.

“We wanted to assimilate the information we regularly gather from our various data centers, including SCADA, Esri® GIS, Cityworks asset management, and Neptune AMR. We needed to record it better, and report that information in an all-inclusive format,” said Macy. “By working together with our staff to incorporate our asset management application, we’ve now surpassed the original goal for Sedarū. Its format is open and configurable, so more data, and more analysis is made available to more people in our organization.”

Enter Sedarū (See Data Run)…

Sedarū is water utility management software designed for ease-of-use, to become the one location where people and data connect, communicate, anticipate water operations, understand impacts, and solve problems. By enhancing communications between the office and the field, Sedarū empowers proactive decision making across key departments, from engineering, to O&M and customer service, while presenting real-time, connected analytics and KPIs for management to drive efficiencies across the organization. With its intuitive touchscreen Tile-Bars®, drag-and-drop startup implementation, and lightweight configuration, Sedarū can be setup for any user in minutes. In the office or in the field, its technology works seamlessly with everyday devices, including laptops, tablets and smart phones.

Macy cited the strength of Sedarū’s ability to coordinate data, communications, and personnel in real-time: “We can be in the office and see at a glance whether a valve is turned on or off just by looking at our GIS map overlays. With Sedarū’s real-time information and communications capabilities, we know where our staff and assets are located, and can respond immediately if needed. In the event a main break prompts a valve shutdown, we know which valves to close, which crew is closest, and how best to coordinate the activity.”

Sedarū has even helped to rule out a main break. Cardenas said, “After system operators noticed SCADA alarms at one of our booster stations for high flow rates, we checked Sedarū to view those alarms overlaid against our maintenance activities on the GIS map. It was then that we saw a valve-turning truck had been in the vicinity flushing hydrants. It was only a flushing event. Before Sedarū, we would have deployed field crews for an unnecessary main break investigation – but now we can accurately assess the situation right away without sending anyone out, saving valuable time and labor.”

The Positive Impacts of Interoperability

Hauffen calls Indio Water Authority one of the most forward-thinking utilities in the country. And through its role in the development and implementation of Sedarū, IWA is making it possible for thousands of other water utilities to take the next step to achieve interoperability.

“Information is more powerful when it’s current, shared, and acted on,” said Hauffen. “Too often in the past, utilities would be limited to learning certain information after the fact, if at all, which could have led to a better, more impactful decision. At IDModeling, we appreciate that having the latest, accurate data in-hand can impact a water utility, its expenses, and most importantly, the health and safety of its customers.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • To share data, plan pipe placement and prioritize capital investment, IWA and IDM worked together to create Sedarū in December 2011.
  • Sedarū enables real-time, interdepartmental communications across the utility.
  • Sedarū brings SCADA, GIS, asset management, and AMR data together in one location.
  • Office personnel can see instantly on GIS map overlays system/asset conditions (e.g., valves turned on or off).
  • With real-time information, IWA can respond immediately, finding the closest field crew and quickly moving them to work areas.

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About Sedarū 

Sedarū water utility network management software, is powered by IDModeling, Inc. Sedarū connects water industry professionals to communicate, anticipate water operations, understand impacts, and solve problems across the utility – in the office or in the field – distributing current, relevant, and analyzed information in real-time, across laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Phone: (626) 244-0700; fax: (626) 244-0702; Email: info@idmodeling.com; website: www.idmodeling.com/sedaru.

Excerpt: 
Serving approximately 21,300 accounts, the Indio Water Authority (IWA) in Indio, California operates in the state’s Coachella Valley desert.