Austin Water Utility Cuts Labor Costs by $400,000

“We hadn’t had an easy way of getting data out to the field and allowing field personnel to update that data and get it back to us. But now, using ArcGIS Online and these apps, we have that capability.”
— John Schulz, GIS Analyst and Dolph Scott, IT Supervisor at Austin Water

By Sarah Alban, Esri

Austin Water Utility (AWU) serves more than 850,000 wholesale water and wastewater customers. Caught in a several-year drought, the utility wanted a stronger, less time-consuming way of issuing water restriction violations. Previously, conservation inspectors had collected violation information and photos on paper and with digital cameras. The data was later entered manually into a tracking system by staff on overtime and temporary personnel.

What did they do?

In May 2013, AWU staff deployed the Collector for ArcGIS app to the company’s conservation inspection team to start collecting violation data digitally. Using tablets, the inspectors identify water use violations based on field access to GIS data. In the office, personnel access this information in real time through their ArcGIS Online organizational account. The violation data, now standardized and instantly available, has become easy to transfer into the AWU Conservation Division in-house tracking system.

Do I need this?

If your service territory is experiencing drought, Collector may save your company time and money in water use enforcement. AWU calculated $400,000 in savings by not having to hire temporary personnel or pay overtime for manual data entry. In addition, the company cites the soft benefits of personnel feeling less overwhelmed.

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