Park City, Utah is one of the most popular tourist areas in the United States. Beyond being a popular ski destination, every January thousands of movie fans flock to the city to check out the best independent cinema has to offer at the Sundance Film Festival. For the city’s water utility, providing effective water service for both residents and tourists can be a major production.
“We have about 8,000 residents in Park City, but it’s more like 30,000 with tourism factored in and it can be much higher when big events come to town,” said Park City Water Resources Manager Jason Christensen. “We’re constantly punching above our weight in terms of water services.”
Staying on the forefront of technology helps Park City’s water services team manage the unique dynamics of bringing water to their ever-fluctuating population. When there’s a challenge, they’re not afraid to tap into new resources to solve it.
With an eye for innovation, Park City has remained committed to driving quality water services to the community. A longtime customer of Sensus, Xylem brand, the city was an early adopter of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), combining Sensus smart water meters with real-time remote monitoring capabilities provided by the Sensus FlexNet® communication network.
“The Sensus AMI system has been a great investment by the community,” said Christensen. “In addition to helping improve efficiency and service for our water customers, it’s allowed us to expand the system with new applications.”
Park City decided it was time to look deeper into its water distribution data. Christensen and his team sought an affordable solution that could extend their AMI system to combat water loss and help the city proactively respond to issues with water pressure and flow.
“We’ve experienced scenarios where a pipe bursts, or a business develops problems with water pressure,” said Christensen. “We want to be able to monitor this type of activity, so we can address issues before they reach crisis mode.”
Park City needed a solution that could connect to their pressure reducing valve (PRV) sites, located on water distribution mains where no power or land-based communications were available. The city decided to conduct a pilot program with the battery-powered Sensus® Smart Gateway Sensor Interface to help staff make critical and prompt decisions for customers by remotely monitoring water pressure and flow. The Smart Gateway is a FlexNet-enabled device that is capable of powering and reading up to two analog sensors and two switch-type inputs.
As an extension of its AMI system, Park City installed the Sensus Smart Gateway interface at two PRV sites. Soon after deployment, Christensen’s customer service team noticed an issue when the distribution pressure downstream of one of the PRVs began to spike.
“The alarm went off and you could see the failure happening in real-time,” said Christensen. “The issue was resolved without incident, but it was a lesson for us in just how impactful the system could be.”
In addition to helping staff respond quickly to issues, the Sensus Smart Gateway solution increases the city’s level of service.
“At these sites, in order to detect a pressure event we had to rely on either a customer calling in or a field technician visiting the site,” said Christensen. “Now we can detect an issue in close to real time and reduce unnecessary wear and tear on the water system.”
With the Sensus AMI system, we can implement incremental projects quickly that require less capital and help maximize our return on investment.
— Jason Christensen, Water Resources Manager, Park City
Based on their successful pilot, Park City is planning to extend to 24 more sites in the coming months. The city looks forward to using new insights from the data gained in the expansion such as identifying non-revenue water.
“While the added connectivity enhances operational performance, it will also help us get smarter as a utility,” said Christensen. “As we monitor more sites, we’ll be able to store the data and use it as a resource for ongoing asset management and water loss reduction.”
Christensen and his team see the Smart Gateway solution as a perfect example of the Sensus AMI system’s key differentiator.
“With the Sensus AMI system, we can implement incremental projects quickly that require less capital and help maximize our return on investment in the AMI system,” said Christensen. “These incremental projects allow us to continue progressing as a smart utility and extend those benefits to the community.”
Gain more insights on water distribution to improve customer service
Deploy Sensus Smart Gateway Sensor Interface as an extension of AMI system
Use data to take preventive maintenance program from reactive to proactive