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  • Troy Huisman

Learning Better Water/Wastewater Practices from California

What has California taught us about Water Management?

If you keep up with the news at all, it’ll be no surprise to you to know that the Golden State has been suffering through some pretty lean times as of late, water-wise.

Going onto four years now, California is seeing an epic drought that has spurred radical awareness and growth of public advocacy for more efficient water and wastewater treatment facilities.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the levying effects of one state’s struggle to provide a resource that is rapidly becoming scarcer by the day, and the impact it will have on future generations even outside of California residents.

Only after the proverbial crap hit the fan did California voters pass a $7.5 billion injection of taxpayer’s money into funding a statewide comprehensive water management plan November of 2014.

But does that mean to the rest of the nation? To those who are fortunate enough to not be immediately effected by the ongoing drought that has sapped the Western coast?

A glimpse into the future.

Water is not an infinite resource.

We tend to delude ourselves out of comfort and normalcy that there will never come a day when we flip on our faucet, and water will not flow.

But as our population increases, as our demand grows – our access to this precious resource becomes more and more strained.

A quick look into our water and wastewater facilities could be a pivotal turning point to achieving a more sustainable, renewable future in regards to our massive H2O consumption.

As our demands grow, so do our abilities to utilize technology to our advantage – to create complex systems of digitized software to help alleviate the stresses in a multi-faceted war against limited natural resources. The problem lies with the inaction to implement these technologies before an event becomes a crisis.

While newer SCADA system software and PLC programs are becoming more widely available, there are still several key municipalities that have yet to upgrade or improve outdated, inefficient systems. The longevity of these water/wastewater treatment systems are being stretched beyond the recommended 15-20 years, which results in a dramatic decrease in the reliability of the facility’s equipment, increases in maintenance costs, and most importantly, an inefficient allocation of energy to sustain itself.

Although to many, the installation (or in some cases, reintegration) of PLC control panels, the training time associated with educating workers about new SCADA upgrades, or the seemingly unnecessary costs of more user-friendly HMI control panels may seem overwhelming – the factual truth is that in time, these measures can result in massive energy savings, significant decrease in maintenance costs/time, and improved productivity by providing a more streamlined approach to handling complex electronic systems through a single control panel.

By providing employees at these treatment facilities with the optimal technology, software, and training, we can take the first assured steps into guaranteeing that every dollar spent on upgrading yields in massive financial savings and resource conservation down the line.

Best of all, these savings and conversation tactics can be achieved now, before the opportunity for a crisis to necessitate action in the form of increased taxes.

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