Benjamin Franklin said "If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” In the water service industry, if we are not making plans to maintain the infrastructure we have and making preparations for the demands of the future, we are also planning for failure. The habitual tasks of reading water meters, billings, collections, shutoffs, and other functions of the daily operation of a water system can make it difficult to step back and look at the overall and future needs of the water system as a whole.
The first priority of a water system master plan is to evaluate the condition of the existing water system and determine the immediate needs required to continue providing service to existing customers. These improvements could include the replacement of pumps; the cleaning and recoating of a water storage tank; or even the replacement of a roof on a pump station. Computer based hydraulic models are utilized to evaluate the distribution system’s ability to provide adequate flow, pressure, and water storage volume to the customers in each pressure zone. Once calibrated, this model can identify deficiencies in the water system and simulate water system improvements needed to correct deficiencies and provide for future growth. A prioritized list of capital improvements and associated project cost estimates are then developed to assist the Utility’s leadership in operating, maintaining, and planning improvements to the water system.
Hawkins-Weir (HW) prepared a water system master plan for the RiverSouth Rural Water District in 2005. Since that time, RiverSouth became a member of the Franklin Sebastian Public Water Authority (FSPWA), a regional wholesale water supplier. The availability of this new water source greatly affects the capital improvements recommended in the 2005 Master Plan. In 2014, RiverSouth requested that HW update the Master Plan to include improvements needed to connect to the FSPWA and to reevaluate capital improvements recommended in the 2005 Master Plan. RiverSouth is presently discussing alternatives to fund the first set of capital improvements identified in the Master Plan.