How Strategic Asset Management Equates to Millions in Savings for Rancho California Water District

How asking questions and digging into data helped a water district feel confident about its strategic asset management approach.

By Earl D. Laing, senior integrated marketing manager, Dude Solutions | Sep 11, 2020 | BLOG POST
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Rancho California Water District had some important decisions to make: how were they going to replace 45,000 water meters in 2021, at an approximate cost of $13 million? They approached their challenge with plenty of questions, such as:

  • Can we replace water meters more efficiently?
  • What will this process cost over time?
  • Are we doing the right maintenance?

Rancho California Water District serves a population of 155,000 in Temecula, California, with potable and recycled water, as well as wastewater. They oversee 45,000 connections across several cities and wine country.

Water resource manager Jeff Kirshberg knew there must be a better way to be proactive and strategic about planning out their water meter replacement program. “We had these 45,000 meters that were put in in 2006, and we really had no risk-based approach to replacing them,” says Kirshberg, who noted that they would need to replace the meters every 15 years, which would put that date at 2021 and the replacement cost at $13 million. “We started asking ourselves: Is there a better way to do this?”

Being more strategic about replacements

And that’s when the water district turned to a strategic asset management approach to help them answer their questions and strategize the best plan of action.

  • They were coming up on their replacement date, but was it absolutely necessary to replace all the meters?
  • What was the risk of a meter failing?
  • Were some meters more at risk than others? 

Forecasting with asset lifecycle modeling

Kirshberg and his team realized that they didn’t need to replace all meters at once. There was no real risk with replacing meters over several years, using technology to inform which to replace and when.

They turned to their strategic asset management software provider to help them see into the future of their asset performance. With the help of asset lifecycle modeling technology plugged into their computerized maintenance management system, they were able to see asset by asset the effect replacement would have. They also were able to see that 3,250 meters comprised 50% of district’s revenue, which led them to prioritizing those meters.

“Not all assets are made the same,” says Kirshberg. “Some assets give you a lot more revenue. That’s where you should be spending your money.”

The team used asset lifecycle modeling to look into the future of each asset and model the impact replacement would have on revenue. This “what if” analysis allowed them to play with many scenarios and eventually land on a revised water meter replacement program that is strategic and provides millions in savings for their district.

Strategy = serious savings for district

Rancho California Water District's approach identified total savings of $6.7 million (58%) over 7 years and $8.2 million (60%) over 10 years. With those stats, they were able to tell their story and prove their strategy to the Rancho Water Board, and it was easy for the board to approve the new approach.

And Rancho hasn’t stopped there. They’ve also taken this approach and applied it to their wastewater pump station upgrades, seeing millions in savings in that area as well.

By asking a few important questions and digging into the data (with experts by their side), Rancho California Water District was able to feel confident about their strategic asset management approach, better serve their residents, and see major payback.

Learn more about Rancho California Water District’s full success story and hear from Kirshberg about the impact of technology in this webinar recording.


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