”What Qatium does is it elevates the small, rural utility to a level where we can provide a customer service experience that models after the big guys.Audi FindleySuperintendent, Greenville Water Utility
Simple, free hydraulic modeling for small water utilities
Audi Findley, Greenville Water Utility’s Superintendent, can now carve out a few minutes from his work day to quickly model how the town’s water system will react to a proposed action, like moving customers to an alternate water supply—a scenario Audi originally outsourced to a consultant to investigate.
Now, with just a couple clicks in Qatium’s water management platform, Audi and his small team can see which customers will experience water-pressure shortages during “what if” scenarios. The easy-to-use interface quickly gives the team the knowledge they need to plan ahead and provide proactive customer service to the community they serve, just like a big-city water utility can do—but at a fraction of the cost.
Greenville Indiana’s water situation at a glance
Founded in 1816 and incorporated in 1879, Greenville, Indiana, is a small town of 1,365 people just 17 miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky and the Indiana-Kentucky state border. According to the 2020 census, Greenville has seen a 124% increase in population since 2010. In total, Greenville Water Utility actually serves 4920 customers, including several neighboring communities outside of Greenville’s limits.
The growing town’s water is split between two suppliers. Edwardsville Water Corporation supplies most of the town, and Floyds Knobs Water Company supplies a small area in the northeast of town. The water comes from wells drawing from a sand and gravel aquifer adjacent to the Ohio River.
Greenville Water Utility is a small team with only two full-time employees in the field, including Superintendent Audi. Needless to say, the utility has a lot of work on its shoulders. But the forward-thinking Greenville team always looks for innovative ways to work more efficiently and provide the best quality of water and service to the community of Greenville.
Simple scenarios complicated by expensive experts and software
Greenville wanted to understand a simple scenario: What happens to a group of customers’ water pressure if they’re temporarily moved from one of the town’s water supplies to the other while a tank’s being repaired?
But like many small water utilities in the US, Greenville doesn’t have an in-house GIS technician or hydraulics engineer to call upon at a moment’s notice to pull up the town’s hydraulic model and run a quick scenario. That means understanding the impacts of even the most basic scenarios often requires reaching into tight budgets and hiring consultants to use complicated software only they’re fluent in. Audi’s been looking for a better way.
”We have a good hydraulic model. I trust it. We went out and we did flows, and we did residual pressures. We put a lot of time and energy into collecting that data. But I can't use it. I can’t manipulate it. I can’t do anything with it. I have to go back to my engineer for what is a fairly simple scenario. I have to pay them to extrapolate the same results that if I had the right levers and buttons to pull and push, simplified and intuitive, I could do myself.
Years ago, the Greenville Water Utility picked EPANET as their hydraulic modeling software because it’s a free-access program, but Audi said the program just wasn’t intuitive—the software required extensive hydraulic engineering knowledge. Being too complicated and difficult to use, the tool ended up being shelved just like the utility’s model.
An intuitive, visual scenario answers water management questions in minutes
After importing Greenville’s mapping and hydraulic data into Qatium, Audi was able to see the same results his consultant gave him within minutes and just a few clicks. Qatium showed that after switching a group of customers to the alternate water supply, the pressure for those customers would drop around 30 PSI. But instead of a spreadsheet with a bunch of junction numbers, Audi could view and interact with the results in a user-friendly model of Greenville’s water system, clicking on each junction to see how much the pressure will drop.
”This is a light-year jump ahead for us from what we can do with our existing tools. It makes it much more intuitive and interpreting the results much more user friendly… I’m not having to invest a lot of time in learning how to run a complete program.
Qatium’s easy-to-use interface is world’s away from what Audi has used in the past. He can easily isolate individual sections of the water system by turning valves and pumps on and off and see how Greenville’s water system reacts as a result. How do flows change? How do pressures change? Audi can easily test his questions in Qatium’s interface to help inform his daily decision making.
”I was able to within about 15 minutes just play with it, just click on a valve or node—the layout is very clear on how to manipulate the demand spikes and how to interpret the hexagon colors. I really liked that … the different coloration made it intuitive and just by looking at it, very quickly you can ascertain where some problem areas are or what the basic profile of your system is.
How Greenville Water Utility sees future uses for Qatium
Audi said the Qatium platform has the potential to help him and his team make informed decisions about saving water during system flushing. He also expects it can help them identify system anomalies for further investigation and more clearly diagnose issues that require a consultant to come on board. Coming from a small utility that doesn’t have the resources for an engineer to answer each and every question, Audi said the Qatium platform is a huge step forward for their planning and operations to help elevate their customer service to the level of larger utilities.
Are you a small water utility looking for easy visibility into your hydraulic system? Explore Qatium’s water management platform to see how you can ask “what if” questions and get reliable answers to improve your water network’s performance.