GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, are used daily by people across almost every industry. Whether it involves obtaining driving directions or doing an internet search for nearby restaurants, GIS queries data associated with geographic locations within a user-defined radius to make information more accessible and practical.

Recently, OCWA expanded its GIS capabilities by hiring a full-time GIS Specialist dedicated to improving our system and supporting our Engineering and Maintenance Departments with GIS information for their project proposals and analysis. 

An important function of GIS is that it can be used to reveal deeper insights into data – such as trends or relationships – which can be used to make more proactive and informed decisions on a wide range of water-related issues. Customers benefit from minimal interruptions of water service by GIS being utilized to identify trends in water main breaks that are used to prioritize pipe replacement and rehabilitation projects.

Another function of GIS is that it allows OCWA to map its infrastructural network – including pipes, valves, hydrants, meters and facilities – used by customers in our service area. This mapping can have details on maintenance history and water flow. Through GIS, we can pinpoint the locations of customers and track water usage patterns with more accuracy and precision than before. The more accurate location and water yield information on hydrants is also of critical importance to 911 and emergency services in the event of fires.

In addition to the benefits we can provide to customers such as more accurate information on water usage and reliable and safe water, GIS also streamlines internal operations for OCWA as well as supports our maintenance activities, facility inventories and construction projects.