The City of Bismarck Water Utility was recently recognized by Frost & Sullivan as a recipient of this year's Excellence in Resourcefulness Award for energy and water. The annual award honors companies that have demonstrated their commitment and ability to significantly reduce energy and water use based on a recent and successful technology implementation. The achievement was recognized during Itron Utility Week in Scottsdale, Arizona. Frost & Sullivan said the City of Bismarck has delivered exceptional results through its strategic investments in advanced solutions that resourcefully manage its water supplies.
Bismarck implemented a strategic step forward in 2014 when modernizing the utility system with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and water analytics for viewing water use data. With these upgrades, the utility changed the way local residents and the city government understood water management and utility operations, which has allowed the city to track usage and/or loss throughout the system. An additional innovation was the public-private partnership with Montana-Dakota Utilities and the City of Bismarck, to collaborate and collect both power and water utility meter information through a single network providing savings to customers across the city.
“The water utility has continued to advance the value of the initial investment by changing the way Bismarck residents can understand and monitor their water use patterns and provide alerts for unexpected high usage rates which could indicate problems within the home or irrigation system through Water Analytics,” said Michelle Klose, Director, Utility Operations. “The metering system has also been able to provide insights on locations where improvements are needed in the water distribution system to support actual usage patterns.” The Utility has moved from using meter readers, a phone line reading system and estimated meter reads, to a system that bills customers with accurate consumption and tracks usage to help identify loss throughout the system.
The water analytic data also provides valuable information for the utility rate study currently underway, by allowing analysis of peak day and peak hour data. The data is providing new insights on how different customers are using water and the cost to provide service to our customers. “The value of this information will continue to expand our ability to understand our usage patterns in dry and wet years and continue to better serve our customers. The success of this project is truly a proud moment in the history of our Water and Sewer Utility,” said Klose.