On October 11, 2018 the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), and now the bill is on its way to the president's desk. The WRDA is a set of laws that manage and fund the nation’s water resources. Led by the U.S. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the measure provides for needed investments in the nation’s ports, channels, locks, dams and other infrastructure that support the maritime and waterways transportation system and provide flood protection for homes and businesses. WRDA legislation is historically passed every two years. However, in recent years, Congress has only been able to enact three WRDA bills: in 2007, 2014 and 2016.
Last week the WinCan team joined thousands of contractors, municipalities and other experts in wastewater management at WEFTEC 2018 in New Orleans, LA. Visitors kept the floor team busy throughout the show, and many familiar faces stopped by the booth. Trade shows are a unique opportunity to bring software demos to people in real time, and the WinCan team can see how people are interacting with sewer asset management software.
Every wastewater system is unique: Age, geography, pipe materials, rehab methods, and climate all shape infrastructure over time. But even in the diverse landscape of American utilities, some systems stand out.
Deploying major enterprise software can be a daunting task, especially for a municipality or contractor working with legacy systems. New technology can disrupt workflows and daily operations and may require significant staff training. Some organizations delay upgrades and improvements simply to avoid the temporary inconvenience and loss of productivity. Eventually, however, new software is necessary; the disadvantages of hanging onto an obsolete system far outweigh the appeal of sticking to the status quo. To ensure that your transition — whether to a new asset management solution, email platform or sewer inspection software — is smooth, follow these best practices.
Cities are constantly pressured to find new ways to cut expenses while maintaining a high quality of service for ratepayers. Shifts in federal and state funding — in combination with aging, degraded sewer systems — make this task even more difficult. In many cases, municipalities end up working equipment for longer and fall into a pattern of reactive maintenance and delaying major repairs. But there are serious consequences to putting off the inevitable. Crises, by nature, are unexpected emergencies, but that doesn’t mean municipalities can’t plan for them and prepare their collection systems for events like natural disasters.
It may be hard to imagine how augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) reach beyond video games and high tech. Yet these technologies, known together as mixed reality (MR), are more accessible than one might think. Mainstream audiences got to experience them every day at Disneyland for fifteen years on Soarin’ Over California. The ride, which debuted in 2001, immersed guests in an MR aerial adventure. In addition to video and audio, flourishes of AR brought the experience to life: Small fans cast a gentle breeze across riders, and an orange-scented mist wafted through the air as they passed over video orange fields. And while the simulated experience didn’t quite capture the real life one, when families stepped off the ride, many felt as if they had truly flown across the state.
The average person may be concerned to know the water in their toilet may eventually come out of their tap, but it’s a natural part of the water cycle. In the past, sewage drained into a river or lake, where it would be evaporated by the sun. That moisture would then return to the earth as rain, to be collected by the water distribution company and sent out of the tap again. Additionally, unplanned indirect potable use has existed for a long time. Cities upstream discharge treated sewage into rivers that are used downstream for potable water. In the end, water is water, and communities ready to take advantage of “recycled” water are working to make ratepayers more comfortable with the process of directly treating wastewater and returning it to the water system, rather than discharging it into the environment.
The jobs report may show the unemployment rate at a rare low, but one industry has been struggling to hire for several years now. Municipalities are facing a workforce gap as Baby Boomers continue to enter retirement–and the jobs available are struggling to draw a younger crowd.