Data Management

Data management includes the storage (and warehousing) of the data that has been collected, the checking of the data for accuracy and completeness, and archiving documents such that the organization has the materials in a safe, protected location where the data can be readily assessed and used.

All data that the organization collects and uses for its enterprise, including all those data listed above, should be placed into electronic data systems and managed through dedicated data security systems (for data back-up and archiving).  There are many software packages that are available to manage production and customer water use data, assisting in billing and reporting and other uses of the data.  Some are listed below.

All data that is collected and stored by the organization should undergo some form of evaluation and assessment for accuracy and completeness before it is accepted for business or planning purposes.  Data quality assurance focuses on preventing defects in the data that is collected and used; whereas quality control focuses on correcting defects that occur.  In general, a small water company should develop procedures for collecting and storing data to minimize the possibility that defects occur in handling the data.  Processes are simplified if data collection occurs using instrumentation, such that human error in handling and manipulation is minimized[1].  Following trends in water production, water treatment and water use can be used to identify inaccuracies in meter readings, meter inaccuracies, and changes in system conditions (e.g., finding a leak).  Therefore, water organizations should establish policies and procedures for collecting, storing and using those data listed above.


[1] For this reason, electronic collection of customer water use data is better than meter data collected by hand using hand written notes – since handwriting can be misread, and incorrectly transcribed.

All organizations have reason to create reports over time, including generating reports to regulators, developing capital improvement project reports, and conducting future planning for infrastructure management, water rates changes, and/or expanded facilities, to name a few. It is incumbent on the organization to maintain and archive the organization’s reports to document its decision making procedures and support transparency to its ratepayers and customers.