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The Carrizo Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project for the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) is a 175 million project including more than 30 miles of 60-inch water pipeline, a 30 million gallons per day (mgd) water treatment facility and high service pump station. The pipeline connects the Edwards Aquifer, San Antonio's main source for drinking water, with the Carrizo Aquifer. The Carrizo Aquifer is used to store water taken from the Edwards Aquifer during the wet-weather months for use in the highdemand, dry summer months of southern Texas. The ASR system is anticipated to operate at an eventual capacity of 60 mgd.

Due to the size and nature of the overall project, SAWS recognized the need for a broad information management and dissemination methodology accessible to multiple levels of users. In response to this need, the Program Manager, CH2M HILL, developed a Web-based (Extranet) program management tool that would:

Enhance the availability (and ease of access) of information such as requests for information (RFIs)

Review comments, technical submittals (including electronic shop drawing submittals in Phase 2 of the Program) and contract documents to all authorized parties, regardless of location

CH2M HILL developed a Web portal to provide a basic platform for the multitude of tools that would ultimately be required to support the program. The initial tools focused on the team communication among spatially distributed teams, including numerous SAWS and CH2M HILL offices, several design firms, and several relevant offices within those design firms.

The Web portal provided essential program delivery components for multiple projects including scheduling tool (calendar), contact lists, electronic document management system (Meridian PrologĀ®), project financial management tools, and project controls map. The tools developed as part of the project delivery methodology supported the coordination and interaction of multiple teams located in geographically dispersed areas. In addition, communication was further enhanced using electronic RFIs, interactive messaging tools, parallel editing/comment tools, and immediate access to information stored in standardized formats across the project.

The project delivery methodology employed on this program (and the use of the Web portal approach) significantly enhanced the efficiency of the overall program management. One example of this enhancement was noted during the bidding process. During this process, all documents required for distribution were compiled into an electronic "envelope", or “e-document,” and made available to the contractors via Internet access. Once registered, contractors were able to obtain a CD of the relevant information free of charge, compared to a cost of up to 250 for a hard-copy set of plans and specifications. Additional value was provided to the bidders since the CD provided interactive searching capabilities.

Information access was another challenge for the two construction field trailers. These locations had limited access capabilities for either telephone or data transmission. SAWS installed a microwave transmission system to make effective use of the Web-enabled tools. This solution allowed the users to quickly access online documents and to communicate with other parties via Prolog and e-mail.

Another Web-enabled system being developed by CH2M HILL is an Electronic Operations Manual System. This database-driven, electronic/interactive document will be the first of its kind for SAWS and is expected to vastly improve SAWS operations and maintenance efforts in the future.

A number of the efficiency-improving technologies used by the ASR Program are new to SAWS. Even so, SAWS is committed to doing what it needs to do to better serve its community, to deliver its projects in a financially prudent manner, and to be “Best in Class by 2006.”

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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