TECHNOLOGY IN WATER
Prepared by the Information Technology in Water and Wastewater Utilities
Task Force of the Water Environment Federation®
Z. Cello Vitasovic, Ph.D., P.E., Chair Donald Gray
Marianne L. MacDonald, Ph.D., Vice-Chair Marla K. Hartson, PMP
David Henry, P.E.
Daniel P. Baker, P.E. Charles P. McDowell
Michael Barnett, Ph.D. Jon H. Meyer
Hardat Barran, P.E., MBA Gustaf Olsson, Ph.D.
Burcin Becerik-Gerber, DDes Steven M. Ravel, P.E., BCEE
Rich Castillon Melanie Rettie
Peter Craan, P.E., CAP Randal W. Samstag
Thomas DeLaura Nedeljko Štefanic, Prof. dr.sc.
Rienk de Vries, BCE, MBA Michael Waddell
George R. Freiberg Corey Williams, P.E.
Under the Direction of the Automation and Information Technology
Subcommittee of the Technical Practice Committee
Water Environment Federation®
601 Wythe Street
Alexandria, VA 22314–1994 USA
16 Information Technology in Water and Wastewater Utilities
1.2.7 Aging Workforce and Changing Demographics
Many utilities are in the midst of a signiﬁcant demographic change and will likely see
many retirements among management ranks and staff. Fewer young staff entering
the workforce compounds this problem. The dual impact of impeding retirements
and fewer choices to fill vacancies is a long-term issue. Technology implementa-
tion and use may help utilities to further implement technical solutions to address
stafﬁng issues, enhance work quality and efﬁciency, and project the image of a high-
tech workforce to attract a prospective, talented, and qualified young workforce.
Information technology can facilitate knowledge management that would help diffu-
sion of knowledge from senior to junior staff.
Innovation, teamwork, and professional development can be encouraged
and facilitated through the use of IT. Leveraging the knowledge and experiences
of existing staff to participate in initiatives to streamline and simplify workforce
processes can be mutually beneﬁcial for the utility and employees alike, with the
proper outreach and incentives. For example, use of technology in the ﬁeld to cap-
ture information as well as to provide important references to as-built conditions
on-demand can enhance worker safety and reduce work downtime. Another exam-
ple of the application of technology to support the most effective involvement of
workers is through workforce roll-out based on skills and availability and inno-
vative employee life-cycle management that aligns employee talents with corpo-
rate goals. This will help revitalize the knowledge base being lost as older workers
1.3 Future Business Needs
As a result of the increased speed of communication and availability of data and
technology, changes in the global economy and climate, growing populations, and
increased infrastructure demand, water and wastewater utilities will be required to
improve operational and business practices. Solutions connecting project and work
management capabilities with scheduling, outage management, and construction
planning and solutions integrating core back-ofﬁce functions and information on cus-
tomers, meters, hydrants, ﬁnancials, and the workforce will be in demand. Integrated
ﬁnancial information using standardized processes, providing visibility on capital,
operational and third-party expenditures, monitoring project costs and regulatory
risks, and integrating business performance information with management processes
could all be achieved by the use of IT.