ArcGIS software is a powerful [system] to support the entire organization and enable different departments to improve their efficiency and productivity. This requires commitment from the utility for a sustainable implementation.
Maps and Apps Improve Efficiency and Productivity at Arusha City, Tanzania
The Arusha Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (AUWSA) is a legally established entity responsible for the overall operation and management of water supply and sewerage services in Arusha City, Tanzania. The authority's mission is to provide quality water and sanitation services efficiently and effectively using available resources and technologies for sustainable development.
AUWSA used open-source software that provided an asset registry but had limited capabilities for mobile data collection, visualization, and display. In 2019, AUWSA began implementing ArcGIS, Esri's powerful mapping and spatial analytics software. Staff shifted to ArcGIS because it provided a complete geographic information system (GIS) package including several mobile applications, an online portal for easy access to data, ready-to-use configurable dashboards, and advanced desktop software.
ArcGIS is now used to support asset management, operations, customer service, and analysis. The GIS has become critical for effective network management and planning as well as customer relationship management.
Improved Nonrevenue Water Management Using GIS
One of AUWSA's key objectives is to locate and repair leaks in the water network to reduce water loss. In the past, leaks were not tracked in GIS, and there was no information about total nonrevenue water.
Now, ArcGIS Collector is used to collect active and repaired leakage data from the field. Plumbers and surveyors were trained on how to use the Collector app to gather information and report leakages. Training to use the app included a day in the office and about a week in the field. Engineers will also use the app to report leakages if they see them when coming into the office or while working.
ArcGIS Dashboards is used to visualize the data, providing a better understanding of the number of leaks and the repair process.
AUWSA created district metered areas and performed network isolations to gain further understanding. Analysis was performed to identify poor quality pipes and implement a strategic pipe rehabilitation plan. AUWSA has completed the first phase of pipe rehabilitation, resulting in a leakage rate reduction of 83 percent. Nonrevenue water was reduced by 6 percent (768.92 m3/79 poly tanks of 10,000 liters).
Analytics is also used to better understand consumption. ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro include various analytical tools that provide insight into different scenarios. For example, when reviewing consumption data, staff are able to identify meters that report zero consumption. These readings are investigated by staff to identify the problem.
Reducing Illegal Connections
In addition to its work in leakage identification and repair workflow, AUWSA uses ArcGIS to reduce illegal connections to the water system. Staff began by creating a map with each meter location. Each meter is linked to a task in ArcGIS Workforce that includes a link to ArcGIS Survey123, which staff use in the field to complete a meter status questionnaire. Using the meter map provides staff members with confidence that they are in the correct location for each inspection. While performing site inspections, staff document if the meter is disconnected, has no access, has no connection, or is on vacant property. In addition, data is collected for assets not represented on the map, and illegal connections are documented. In total, 3,883 houses were surveyed, of which 545 surveyed plots had at least one anomaly. At the moment, AUWSA is resolving all the issues found during the survey, and it is expected that this will lead to higher revenue in this area.
ArcGIS Dashboards is used to create dashboards that manage the work and visualize data being collected. The progress of inspections is easily tracked, providing a view of project status. AUWSA can quickly identify if a meter is in a vacant lot, places where there are no known accounts, and the amount of debt associated with a meter. A dashboard also documents the performance measurement for each individual worker.
The use of dashboards has raised awareness among staff and improved management of daily operations. Managers are able to access AUWSA dashboards using their tablets, and large screens display the dashboards at the main office.
Service Extended to Remote Areas
In Tanzania, the water utilities are becoming responsible for providing water service to even the most remote areas. This requires significant extension of the water network. In 2019, AUWSA had 800 kilometers of distribution network. By 2022, this had grown to 1,500 kilometers. GIS is being used to accurately map existing infrastructure and help manage the expansion. Prior to this expansion, staff would visit the area and use GIS to map the site. Now when the pipe is being installed, staff return to the project site and use handheld Garmin GPS receivers paired with Collector to capture accurate asset locations and update the map.
Lessons learned and recommendations include the following:
- Staff need smart devices (phones and/or tablets) to use field application software.
- AUWSA uses mid-range Android smartphones for mobile workers and high-end tablets for management.
- Staff need to be trained to use the software.
- AUWSA needed less than a day to train staff.
- It's essential that a clear strategy is developed and that management supports the allocation of required resources.
- This is important to unlock the full value of ArcGIS.
- A GIS department needs to be established within the utility and supported by information and communication technologies (ICT).
- GIS should serve all departments across the organization.
Advancing What's Next
AUWSA has purchased a drone and is awaiting the completion of the registration. Staff have already identified several ways in which a drone could be useful for the utility. Imagery collected by the drone could be used to help identify leakages and provide high-resolution backdrops for surveyors. Some remote areas are inaccessible to staff, especially during the rainy season. A drone could be used to inspect these areas, helping staff identify leakages and safely plan for repairs.
Providing Quality Water and Sanitation Services Efficiently and Effectively
AUWSA employees have added value to their organization by implementing ArcGIS. Staff report that ArcGIS applications are easy to use and require very little training.
The ability to access maps and data from the field has increased the efficiency of mobile workers and provided managers with the data needed to manage projects more effectively. ArcGIS has become vital for daily operations and provides analytics that supports decision-making.
ArcGIS has supported AUWSA's goal to decrease nonrevenue water. Using ArcGIS has increased data quality by providing the tools needed to verify asset information and identify and collect assets not in AUWSA's registry. It supports staff members' daily work as well as their future goals.
Transform operations management
ArcGIS transforms operations with easy-to-use apps that improve collaboration, coordination, and decision-making and offer real-time operational views to office and field staff.