[FILLED] Water System Efficiency and Reliability to address a Changing Climate in Lake Tahoe

Host: South Tahoe Public Utility District
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Energy Efficiency, Water Management
Skills Needed: Project Management, Research, Data Analysis, GIS Mapping,

Remote or On-Site Placement


Service Needs & Plans

The South Tahoe Public Utility District (STPUD) owns and operates water and sewer facilities for the community of South Lake Tahoe, California, valued at over $1.5B. These facilities were installed in the 1950s and 1960s, and some are nearing the end of their useful life. On top of that, the changing climate is adding challenges to system operation: winter rainstorms are melting snowpack and causing localized flooding and inundation of the sewer system; increasing risk of wildfire puts additional demands on the water system as seen during the recent Caldor Fire. To ensure that these valuable facilities continue to serve the community and to protect Lake Tahoe well into the future, STPUD is developing a comprehensive program to assess and report on the state of the facilities, track their performance over time, and plan for their rehabilitation and/or replacement. STPUD is seeking a Fellow to support the development of this program, drawing upon an environmental science or engineering background, with a working knowledge of GIS. Specifically, the Fellow will work with STPUD’s Engineering Department to:
1.Update and validate assets in STPUD’s ArcGIS and Work Order Systems
2.Use new and existing tools and technologies to capture and analyze condition information
3.Work with the Operations departments to develop programs for monitoring station efficiency and performance
4.Support the System Efficiency Committee efforts, and
5.Update STPUD’s Annual Asset Management Report.

The Fellow may also help support the District’s water conservation and public affairs program by helping present environmental education, organize and booth at community events, coordinate the water conservation programs and update social media accounts.

The ideal Fellow will be personable, open-minded, creative, and self-motivated. The ideal Fellow would be interested in the details of “how things work” but also able to see how individual parts fit into a larger system.

Project Description

Roles and Outcomes
1.Work with the District’s GIS Specialist to update STPUD’s water system GIS. STPUD has recently installed water meters for its residential customer and automated reading equipment. The GIS needs to be updated to add these new features, and tie them to other analytical tools, such as the water conservation software and water loss tools. Monitoring consumption and losses from the water system will help STPUD prioritize rehabilitation areas of the water system.
2.Work with the District’s Asset Management Analyst to update the Work Order system, and develop tools and reports to extract information regarding the condition of facilities. This work will inform Operations departments of the system’s needs, to prioritize maintenance and rehabilitation. The District is in the process of implementing a new system and the Fellow may be involved in this effort.
3.Collect, review and analyze condition information that is collected by the Operations departments regarding the condition of STPUD’s water and sewer systems. STPUD has begun to develop field tools for crews to collect information during their daily routine, but only by reviewing and analyzing the collected information can we learn where to place our future efforts.
4.Work with the District’s Principal Engineer and Field Operations to develop a program to monitor pump station performance. Explore new tools available to monitor pump vibration, temperature, flows, pressure and current draw. Develop a plan for deploying these tools to approximately 70 field stations, so that we can respond to drops in efficiency and performance in a timely fashion.
5.Work with the District’s Principal Engineer to compile data and draft the District’s first Annual Asset Management Report. This report will serve as a template for future reports, and will present to the Board of Directors and to the community a status update on the health of the water and sewer systems.
6. Work with the Asset Management Analyst and Public Affairs and Conservation Manager to help identify and implement system efficiency efforts.

Desired Skills

Candidates with a strong interest or background in GIS would be

Organization & Workplace Highlights

The South Tahoe PUD provides water and sewer services to approximately 17,000 customers in and around the City of South Lake Tahoe, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. This dynamic organization of 115 employees works diligently to provide high quality service to its community. South Tahoe PUD strives to maintain a highly collaborative and supportive work environment. Our employees recognize the special environment in which we live and work and how that creates a higher purpose than just “doing the job.” As a public utility, we must serve all community members equally and our staff recognizes the importance of maintaining equity for our entire community.
Serving with South Tahoe PUD is a great opportunity for professional development experience. As a relatively small utility, our employees are involved with all aspects of planning and operation of the water and sewer systems. Because of our size, we can also be relatively nimble and move projects along rather quickly. As opposed to larger agencies, South Tahoe PUD can offer a greater breadth of experience. In addition, because of the highly regulated environment in the Tahoe Basin, serving with South Tahoe PUD will also potentially expose the Fellow to many of our partner agencies that are also working to protect the Tahoe Basin.

Community Highlights

Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. Lying at 6,225 ft, it straddles the state line between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and with a depth of 1,645 ft, it is the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California. It is home to winter sports, summer outdoor recreation, and scenery enjoyed throughout the year. Snow and ski resorts are a significant part of the area’s economy and reputation. Hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and more are literally just out the back door.

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