Our GIS initiatives have significantly improved customer service and operational efficiency

Our GIS initiatives have significantly improved customer service and operational efficiency

Baltazar P. de Guzman
Baltazar P. de Guzman
Asset Management Department
Strategic Asset Management Group
Manila Water Company Inc.

Enterprise GIS in Manila Water has gained worldwide recognitions in management, sustainability and corporate governance. Baltazar P. de Guzman, Head of Asset Management, talks about the award-winning system, from the beginning to its future expansion plan.

Manila Water’s operations cover 40% of Metro Manila. Can you describe the amount of assets that the Company has to manage?
The amount of assets that Manila Water manages now is roughly valued at $1 billion. For Water Network, we are maintaining and renewing 4,650 km of pipe network. ForWater Distribution Network, assets equivalent of 127 km of raw water mains, 6 water treatment plants, 7 reservoirs, 19 pump stations, 21 booster stations, 64 production wells and 25,650 system valves and for Waste Water System, we manage around 327 km of sewer lines, 52 STPs/CSTs, 17 lift stations and 5697 manholes. These are all included in the geographic information systems.

What are the major challenges in managing water utility assets?
In Manila Water, major challenges that we have been preparing for are natural calamities and extreme weather conditions having had experienced severe storms, floods and also severe droughts or the “El Nino Phenomenon”. These would result in major disruptions in our services. Regulatory challenges, with the stringent KPIs/BEMs set by the government have likewise been experienced. Nowadays, as we have improved a lot in our delivery of the services, we have also realized more demanding and higher customer expectations.

“The Enterprise GIS in Manila Water currently has 7 editors and more than 20 direct accesses that can view the GIS layers. The users have different privileges based on their work profile and requirements.”

Please brief us about Manila Water’s GIS Master Plan. How did it start?
MWC started its GIS from as-built plans and some electronic data gathered from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS). These information are found to be incomplete and outdated at that time. More so, positional accuracy was really a problem. Then Manila Water embarked on a major upgrade. New basemap and database were developed within international standards. GIS was integrated with CRM. A web mapping service was likewise implemented. These GIS initiatives have significantly improved customer service and operational efficiency.

The Enterprise GIS in Manila Water has gained worldwide recognitions. Can you describe the system in terms of data integration, users, and functionalities?
The Enterprise GIS in Manila Water currently has 7 editors and more than 20 direct accesses that can view the GIS layers. The users have different privileges based on their work profile and requirements. These users take part in the usage of functionalities of water and wastewater operations and management present in the GIS database. GeoViewer Online, a Web-GIS application, geared towards maximizing the user access through internet and intranet connections is now widely used within the Manila Water offices. Asset management, network efficiency, project proposals and reporting needs are being provided by GeoViewer to almost 300 GIS knowledgeable and non-GIS users. Information sharing has also improved and become prevalent. Project Engineers use the CAD-GIS Integration through a CAD interface that includes base map with correct coordinate system as basis for project designs which also created a more efficient workflow for CAD to GIS data interoperability. The Customer Care and Billing System – Customer Relationship Management Project integrated to GIS through Business Intelligence has the capability to identify customer location by using Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates which greatly improved efficiency of customer complaints resolution leading to greater customer satisfaction.

It was shared that Manila Water was able to reduce non-revenue water from 63% in 1997 to 10% in 2010. How significant was contribution of the Enterprise GIS for this achievement?
There are four major strategies that were implemented by the Manila Water to address the problem of NRW: Technical solutions;Territory management concept;Community involvement; and Standardized best practices across the organization. All these solutions have the data and analysis provided by the enterprise GIS as the basis for decisions and actions which is shared corporate wide.

Example applications are finding the correct materials for repair work or diverting water flows where it is needed. These were enhanced and sped-up with online data. Customer’s location and information can be accessed at the CRM portal to facilitate processing of customer’s complaint. It stream-lined the process of finding where the customer is and it likewise, minimized cause of delays.

How about RoI in terms of profitability? Do you observe significant increase after the Enterprise GIS is operational?
Benefits are observed in terms of better asset management, improved customer service and improved efficiency in terms of managing the respective territories. This became indispensable in the day to day management of the network. Projects are well conceived because of the presence of timely and accurate data within the system. As a result, better scope of work leading to better cost of the projects was achieved.

How often do you update your water and sewer datasets?
The updates of water and sewer datasets are done regularly upon the submission of as-built maps by the contractor.

What is the future expansion strategy for the Enterprise GIS in Manila Water?
Our team is now working with an enterprise asset management that will integrate GIS, BI, CRM, work management with mobile application, laboratory information management system, SCADA and hydraulic modeling and other business processes.

Manila Water also holds strong advocacy towards environmental protection. How do you see GIS can help in this front?
We have mapped our watersheds and in coordination with other government agencies, MWC will assist in the monitoring of reforestation in those areas. We have provided GIS data in the analysis and design of catchment areas.In this regard, domestic wastes will be treated prior to its discharge to the rivers and streams.

There have been a lot of innovations in geospatial technology today. Are you looking at any new means of data collection/mapping methods?
We will still be using satellite images to upgrade our base map. Another could be by using laser scanning inside the facilities to capture all assets within.