Water Distribution Zone Improvements, City of Iowa City, Iowa

Water Distribution Zone Improvements

The City of Iowa City Water Division wanted to create a GIS-based tool to help prioritize distribution infrastructure. The city completed a water distribution study that included a water distribution model; however, the city lacked a cohesive way to interpret the data and move toward data-driven decision making.

Since several variables needed to be examined and ranked, the city wanted a tool to automate the data analysis and make decisions in a prescribed way. Bolton & Menk developed an objective matrix to prioritize water main replacements. By using the Python programming language, we developed a custom tool within the city’s existing GIS framework. We helped identify methods in which the available data could be queried, mapped, and reported. The outcome is based on a configurable search engine that ranks many parameters including critical customer service, pipe diameter, age, break history, and available pressure. The water main segments that meet these pre-determined criteria are flagged, displayed, and exported into several city-defined formats.

Implementing a GIS-based tool provides the city confidence in identifying replacement priorities. This custom prioritization tool provides a common platform and standardization across multiple data sets.

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