Flowing smoothly: How a Colorado water utility uses Cartegraph to keep up with its rapid growth
Castle Rock, Colorado
Castle Rock, located just south of Denver, is experiencing an explosive influx of population—growing from a town of 8,000 in 1990 to more than 55,000 in 2015.
With the population on pace to hit 100,000 by 2050, town leaders are faced with an unprecedented test for municipal services to not just keep up, but also meet the needs of future residents seamlessly and efficiently.
Read on to find out how Castle Rock is using Cartegraph and Esri technologies to anticipate problems, inventory assets, and analyze data for improved decision making.
As the population grew, the strain on Castle Rock’s resources and municipal services intensified. The town hired Matthew Daniels in 2013 to help manage the existing and future needs of the town’s water assets. Daniels’ first concern was to know what he was working with.
“We, as a town, knew we had to invest in an asset management system to keep up with the rapid growth,” says Daniels, Castle Rock’s Utilities Mapping Specialist. Having worked in other municipalities that used Cartegraph to identify and solve problems, Daniels had a grasp of how it could make a difference for Castle Rock’s water utilities operation.
Castle Rock chose Cartegraph for its work and asset management capabilities—and for the way it works with Esri GIS technology, which the town had adopted in the early stages of its growth. Daniels says the technological alignment between the asset management system and geospatial analysis provides clearly identifiable and quantifiable results to help improve decision making.
Using Cartegraph and Esri technologies, the town of Castle Rock is seeing solid results in everything from proactive maintenance to improved inspection time. This has enabled identification of priorities and efficiencies in time, saving the town and its residents money.
Improved Asset Management
Though Castle Rock is still relatively modest in size, its accelerated growth has expanded the need for precise asset management. It has $516 million in water, wastewater, and storm water assets and that number is steadily increasing. With all of the complexities of rapid growth, municipal leaders knew water would be a major consideration. Cartegraph was the solution to make the analytical case for accurate asset renewal and expansion.
“When you experience explosive growth, you’re just trying to keep up with it,” says Daniels. “Cartegraph helps us to be organized and strategic in how we tackle new assets. But it also helps us make our case for the need to hire additional staff or request funding for CIP [capital improvement planning].”
In addition to improved planning, Cartegraph allows for the creation of a solid infrastructure platform for the increased water demand. “Now we can track that additional infrastructure as it goes in the ground,” Daniels says.
Managing new assets is only half the battle. “Long term, tracking and understanding the costs associated with the labor for each asset will lead us to do what we really want—which is preventative maintenance instead of reactive maintenance,” Daniels explains. “We know assets fail, so we want to get to the point where we can track them and know when that will happen.” This tracking allows the town to be proactive and plan for improvements in the capital budget.
Castle Rock field professionals use iPads to take advantage of both Esri and Cartegraph technologies. Using ArcGIS maps to quickly locate assets and Cartegraph to conduct on-site inspections, crews are able to complete their work more efficiently.
In 2014, it took the team the entire year to inspect 930 fire hydrants. With Cartegraph, Castle Rock Water was able to inspect 831 in just six months. “That’s about a 40 to 50 percent increase in productivity,” Daniels says.
As the utility’s workforce ages and workers start to retire, their institutional knowledge is at risk of getting lost. With Cartegraph, “We can now take that knowledge and archive it,” Daniels says. “We can get rid of everybody’s spreadsheets and the Word docs on people’s hard drives, and put in into one repository that will last.” Having this history makes it easier to predict future needs.
Where fragmented pieces of information exist, Cartegraph is filling in the gaps—and where the information didn’t exist in the first place, Cartegraph is creating a bigger picture. The analytics and data tools provided by Cartegraph and Esri are keeping Castle Rock water flowing smoothly.
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