Poster Title

Utilization of GIS Technology in a Small Rural Water System Located in Western Kentucky, West McCracken Water District.

Institution

Western Kentucky University

Abstract

The Center for Water Resource Studies, a program of distinction at Western Kentucky University (WKU), operates the Technical Assistance Center for Water Quality (TACWQ). Funded by the Small Systems Program of the U.S. EPA’s Drinking Water Branch, the TACWQ works to assist small rural water systems in developing uses for advanced technologies that improve management and operations. During the summer of 2002 students and personnel from the TACWQ engaged in a technology cost-benefit study with West McCracken Water District (WMWD) and Spatial Data Integrations (SDI). This study was designed to determine the cost effectiveness of developing a Geographic Information System (GIS) for a small rural water system. Components of the study included mapping locations of all meters, hydrants, valves, and tanks using Trimble© Global Positioning Systems (GPS), compiling the data in WaterWorks FM™ supplied by SDI, building the final GIS, and providing technical support to the WMWD. This data and the GIS have allowed WMWD to more accurately determine its needs for future growth, management, and operation of the water system. The overriding factors discouraging small water systems from utilizing new GPS and GIS technologies is the high costs of equipment, software, and labor, and the potential for technical deficiencies. By working with WKU’s TACWQ, costs were dramatically reduced, thus enabling WMWD to benefit from the same technologies used by larger systems. This study provides a benchmark for other small rural water systems as to the costs, needs, and benefits of developing a GIS.

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Utilization of GIS Technology in a Small Rural Water System Located in Western Kentucky, West McCracken Water District.

The Center for Water Resource Studies, a program of distinction at Western Kentucky University (WKU), operates the Technical Assistance Center for Water Quality (TACWQ). Funded by the Small Systems Program of the U.S. EPA’s Drinking Water Branch, the TACWQ works to assist small rural water systems in developing uses for advanced technologies that improve management and operations. During the summer of 2002 students and personnel from the TACWQ engaged in a technology cost-benefit study with West McCracken Water District (WMWD) and Spatial Data Integrations (SDI). This study was designed to determine the cost effectiveness of developing a Geographic Information System (GIS) for a small rural water system. Components of the study included mapping locations of all meters, hydrants, valves, and tanks using Trimble© Global Positioning Systems (GPS), compiling the data in WaterWorks FM™ supplied by SDI, building the final GIS, and providing technical support to the WMWD. This data and the GIS have allowed WMWD to more accurately determine its needs for future growth, management, and operation of the water system. The overriding factors discouraging small water systems from utilizing new GPS and GIS technologies is the high costs of equipment, software, and labor, and the potential for technical deficiencies. By working with WKU’s TACWQ, costs were dramatically reduced, thus enabling WMWD to benefit from the same technologies used by larger systems. This study provides a benchmark for other small rural water systems as to the costs, needs, and benefits of developing a GIS.