A Free Exchange of Information

WATERiD is aggregating a wealth of industry knowledge for the benefit of sewer and water professionals.

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We all try to learn from our mistakes, but it is far more efficient to learn from the successes (and failures) of others, particularly when we are charged with making the best use of public funds.

The benefit of networking at conferences, seminars and other meetings is that it fosters an environment of communication and cooperation that helps municipal professionals learn from their counterparts. Associations such as the National Association of Sewer Service Companies, Water Utility Infrastructure Management, and the Water Environment Federation and its local membership organizations, provide these opportunities for sharing information and experiences.

The free exchange of information related to condition assessment, renewal engineering and even management practices is extremely valuable. Case studies can provide an understanding of the use of certain technologies, inspection practices, contracting techniques or even regulatory initiatives that can be applied to other situations in other municipalities. The volume of information exchanged is enormous, but the exchange is limited to those who attend certain presentations within certain conferences. As funding to support attendance at these conferences decreases, so do opportunities to share information.

Ideally, this data could be collected and housed in one warehouse of knowledge that could be accessed and utilized by interested parties throughout the country. This is the goal of WATERiD (Water Infrastructure Database).

WATERiD is the result of the work of Sunil Sinha, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech and a National Science Foundation Career Award recipient in the area of sustainable water infrastructure management systems.

Mr. Sinha attended the 2013 NASSCO annual meeting to share his personal insight into WATERiD. "The database ensures one-stop shopping for the utilities where they can find all the relevant information that will help in expediting the decision-making process for the selection of appropriate condition assessment and rehabilitation technologies," Sinha said.

WATERiD is structured to help bridge the product and service knowledge gap so the true promise of asset management can be achieved. At present, utility managers and decision makers frequently struggle to gain access to comprehensive, unbiased information about condition assessment, renewal engineering and pipe locating technologies, and especially utility experience with such technologies. Information such as best practices, cost drivers, availability by region, and positive and negative experiences are not typically shared across utilities.

WATERiD is a venue for water and wastewater utilities to share information and knowledge pertaining to the application of pipeline asset management. WATERiD is structured to serve as a continual source of updated industry knowledge in areas including benchmarking, condition assessment, renewal engineering, utility engineering and financial information. All WATERiD content is structured for easy retrieval and is subject to rigorous public peer review.

WATERiD will help drinking water and wastewater utilities of all sizes sustain their targeted level of service. In doing so, it will provide the required uniform national standards for water infrastructure systems; establish a centralized platform that utilizes a GIS-driven, Web-based interface; develop and provide access to open-source applications; provide dynamic aggregation and centralized storage of inventory and inspection data from utilities; leverage the centralized data set to calibrate, verify, benchmark and visualize the models and tools for reliable use; provide registered users with secure access to analyze their own utility data; and provide educational and professional outreach for a structured procedure to implement advanced sustainable asset management.

WATERiD aligns with NASSCO's mission to set industry standards for the assessment and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure, and to assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies. For more information, visit waterid.org.

Ted DeBoda is executive director of NASSCO. He can be reached at director@nassco.org.


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