Business Processes in the Water Sector


Business Processes Description

Asset Management
The aim of this BP is the definition of the best way of keeping the physical assets of a water company in the appropriate condition, enabling a permanent service, compliant with the contracts and the regulations.
In other words, the target of Asset Management is in finding the appropriate balance between two risks: the financial risk of spending too much and the technical (or contractual) risk of spending too little.
The core activity of the A/M BP is the design of the (annual or medium-term) policy of :
       capital investment;
       rules of maintenance;
       and, sometimes, principles of operation and/or purchase guidelines.
A/M BP also includes the checking of the application of the policy.
The main steps of the A/M BP are:
       knowledge of the "rules of the game" = contract, regulations, internal procedures, etc.
       knowledge of the assets and of their conditions
       follow-up of the performances of the assets (i.e. compliance with the "rules of the game") - "performances" are assessed on various levels : technical, financial, environmental, etc.
       assessment of the risks, i.e. performances in the future
       definition of the acceptable level of risk
       design of policy (capital investment, maintenance) ==>> definition of "projects"
       "sponsorship" of projects (incl. studies) - from launch to acceptance and commissioning
It must be noted that, even if the following tasks are clearly strongly related to the Asset Management business process, they are NOT INCLUDED in the BP strictly speaking:
       field / plant interventions -- for condition / performance assessment as well as for repairs
       projects / studies
       construction / rehabilitation works
 
Field interventions (DW&WW) management (incl. connections)
The aim of this BP is the day to day organization of interventions on the networks (mainly repairs - i.e. leaks, bursts, blockages - and new connections).
The requests come from various sources:
       customers / or customer department;
       operations;
       asset manager.
 
Main tasks of the BP:
       prioritization of requests (according to internal rules)
       allocation of resources (manpower, vehicles, special tools, subcontractors), leading to detailed schedule
       real-time adjustment of schedule and allocations, in accordance with difficulty of jobs, and unexpected incidents
       management of the sequence of unit actions in a complex job
       reports
       quotations (e.g. for new connections)
 
Field works (DW&WW) including Connections
This BP contains the physical works done on site: fixing leaks (and, before that, locating leaks ! ), building new connections, cleaning sewers, inspecting sewers, testing hydrants, operating networks, cleaning reservoirs etc.
Each task starts from a WO (work order - issued by the previous BP "field interventions management") and finished either by the completion of the job, or by a report explaining the reasons why it was not possible to complete the job.
In most water companies, this BP does not include digging and earthmoving (very often, these tasks are subcontracted), but the BP includes road safety actions such as signposting of worksite.
 
Use of GIS
Strictly speaking, this is not really a business process! But it in lights the fact that the use of GIS is absolutely widespread in all the other BPs, as most "objects" used in the BPs of a water utility are "geographically located". Each BP includes access to the data of these objects through a GIS interface.
A GIS database contains all these objects (that can be "technical" - such as valves or pumping stations - or not technical - such as customer premises, or city limits). The uniqueness of the GIS guarantees the consistency of information.
 
Maintenance of GIS
The aim of this BP is the guarantee of the relevance, consistency and quality of the data of the GIS; it contains two types of maintenance:
       technical IT maintenance (i.e. new versions of the GIS software, cleaning and backup of databases, etc.)
       maintenance of the data itself = update from different sources: site (description of jobs but also corrections of data mistakes in the DB), project office, external sources (e.g. cadastre)
 
Management of Plant Maintenance
The aim of this BP is the day to day organization of interventions in the "plants" (DWTP, WWTP, pumping stations, etc.). This interventions can be corrective maintenance (i.e. repairs), as well as preventive maintenance (that can be planned over long periods - semesters, years).
The requests come mainly from 2 sources:
       operators / managers of the plants,
       asset manager.
Main tasks of the BP:
       prioritization of requests (according to internal rules)
       allocation of resources (manpower, vehicles, special tools, subcontractors), leading to detailed schedule
       real-time adjustment of schedule and allocations, in accordance with difficulty of jobs, and unexpected incidents
       management of the sequence of unit actions in a complex job
       reports
 
Electromechanical maintenance in WTP, WWTP & PS
This BP contains the physical works done on site in the plants: pump / motor repair, cleaning of electric cabinets, repairs of electric failures, greasing - oiling, etc.
Each task starts from a WO (work order - issued by the previous BP "management of plant maintenance") and finished either by the completion of the job, or by a report explaining the reasons why it was not possible to complete the job.
 
Lab & QC for DW, WW and the Environment
This BP describes the tasks done in the laboratory. It starts with the arrival of samples in the lab (see specific BP about sampling) and ends with the production of reports about the values of the analysed parameters.
Each technology of analysis has its own detailed procedure / operating mode, depending on the equipments actually used in the lab.
There is also a procedure about the disposal of used samples after analyses.
 
Automation & Sensors  (DW, WW and ENV)
The process of automation & sensors involves all the activities of plan, project, execute and maintain all the equipment of a telecontrol network: sensors/actuators, remote stations, communications, SCADA (supervisions system) and control centre. This process involves the supervision of all the phases in interlocution with the client (real time network manager) and the different subcontractors.
 
Real Time network management (DW, WW & SW)
The real time network management involves the operation and supervision of the process by a remote control. The operational tasks should be described in the exploitation procedure: process control, data validation, exploitation surveys, maintenance and so on. The supervisions tasks consist in the validation of surveys and reporting, the continuous improvement of the system or the crisis management.
 
Planning and design of new assets and plants
The process involves assessment and gap analysis of water and wastewater utility infrastructures; development of business strategies and business plans for utilities, managing of design-build projects, including preparation of budgets, schedules, definition of project goals in accordance with guidelines supplied by water authorities/controllers.
This implies the construction, in cooperation with the institutions that govern water resources and in coordination with other utility departments, of various planning scenarios keeping into account uncertainties, possible investments, environmental sustainability, community needs, pollution prevention, sustainability, and watershed and ecosystem management.
 
Water resources management
This process involves comprehensive evaluation of all water supply and demand alternatives with the end result, in an attempt to minimize costs, of creating a flexible plan allowing for uncertainty and a changing economic environment and determining the most efficient method of meeting demand. The implications of a given resource mix on the utility, the environment, and the community, are evaluated along temporal (short- and long-term) and spatial dimensions, supplying inputs for planning and designing of new assets and plants.
 
Environmental monitoring
This process involves oversight and assistance for environmental compliance matters regarding facilities and activities related to the supplied water/wastewater service, and monitoring overall environmental compliance with regulations. Environmental related programs are developed and implemented and periodic reviews and audits of such programs are organised.
Tracking is made of all deviations from regulatory compliance with suggestions on appropriate corrective actions. Support investigations is provided on major environmental accidents and major equipment failures and support studies of problems encountered in plant operation or process control are carried out in an effort to mitigate chronic compliance problem.
 
Drinking water treatment plant management
The process aims at ensuring that the water purification process goes smoothly and efficiently. It involves operation and inspection of plant equipment, such as control pumps, valves, and computers that moves the water through the numerous treatment processes; Process control tests and routine lab analysis are made together with reading and of gauges and meters and corrective action are taken as necessary to keep facility equipment and processes functioning appropriately, such as to ensure compliance with drinking water regulations. Routine inspection and minor maintenance at treatment facilities and lift stations are made.
 
Water primary network management and water balance
Development plans for operation, maintenance and improvement of network efficiency. Network data management, monitoring and modelling using appropriate GIS and software, leakage reduction, implantation of consumption and demand strategies, aiming at exchanging water volumes among water districts. Leak detection, development of non revenue water initiatives, revaluation leak reduction plans, security plan, development of SCADA for measurement of major parameters.
This process involves maintenance of pipelines collection and pumping stations as needed. It includes preventative maintenance on collection system tools and equipment, monitoring, inspection and rehabilitation of pipelines, etc.
 
Water secondary network management
This process deals typically with distribution networks managed as water districts where leaks are detected, monitoring night flows and pressures. This approach implies installation and management of PRV valves and inverters connected to pumping stations, allowing when necessary, energy savings. New water connections are made upon verification of network technical conditions. Monitoring, preventative maintenance and repair works are carried out.
 
Leak detection
A detailed survey is undertaken to identify the type and location of water leakage. The process involves operation of various types of electronic equipment (correlator, pipe tracer, ground microphone and listening stick) used to detect and record leak sounds related to water loss from the water distribution system. Data are collected by technicians and submitted to management staff for analysis and appropriate action. Assistance can be given by providing leak detection services and/or investigating on particular issues and problems.
 
Meter reading (AMR and MMR)
MMR
Inspection of meters and connections is made to be sure everything is in working order. After inspection work requests are created, maintenance and reparation can be done whenever meters are damaged.
Information provided by measuring devices are recorded and returned to business office for billing purposes.
 
AMR
 
Public Service Contract Management
This process requires operating the public service according to the specifications included in the contracting procedure. Periodically may be detailed to the local authority how the contract is advancing, the different activities realized, and if there’s any significant difference in costs between reality and the budget. This also comprises negotiating the investments necessary for improving the service infrastructures, and how these may be recovered during the concession period.
 
WW - Water and Wastewater Network Management
Submit and implement throughout a regional territory the organization and means needed to ensure the satisfactory operation of the water and/or sewer systems in respect of current and future requirements.
This process involves supervising the working group and organizing the workload, analysing a network’s operation, and identifying and implementing means of improvement. All these activities may be done taking care of that which is required for the local authorities, and ensuring an excellent service and a high satisfaction of the customers.
 
SW - Stormwater Network Management
Submit and implement throughout a regional territory the organization and means needed to ensure the satisfactory operation of the stormwater system in respect of current and future requirements.
This process involves supervising the way how the stormwater network works, and identifying and implementing means of improvement. All these measures may be done taking care of that which is required for the local authorities, and ensuring an excellent service and a high satisfaction of the customers.
 
WWTP – Waste Water Treatment Plant
Submit and implement human and technical means appropriate to current and future for water production or wastewater treatment requirements in compliance with regulators.
This process involves supervising the working group and organizing the activities, analysing plant and works operations and identifying potential improvements, submitting means for improving the plant.
 
Sewer inspection and sewer cleaning
The process of inspection involves using a video camera to collect data on drain condition for maintenance purposes. The result of the inspection is a report accompanied with a video where it’s detailed the state of the sewer inspected, with a list of the malfunctions detected, with its description and position in the sewer.
The process of cleaning involves using a hydrojet vehicle for undertaking remedial and preventive works: cleaning, draining, and pumping out sewerage systems. This process can also report abnormalities found in installations.