Credit: GBA Master Series

The central data repository that Otay's computerized maintenance management software provides allows the water district to collect valuable data by inventorying assets.

Credit: Otay Water District

Otay's tank 485-1 is just one of many tanks that serve the sewer needs of about 5000 homes and businesses.

For residents of California's San Diego County, off the Pacific Coast less than 30 miles north of Mexico, the supply of fresh water is a critical concern. Precipitation levels might reach 3 inches in the wake of the new year, but rain gauges are left empty in the remaining nine months.

Water tanks buried beneath this area provide a means to life for the citizens of the once-arid county. The tanks are the responsibility of Otay Water District, which provides water and sewer services to people in a 129-square-mile area in southeastern San Diego County. The publicly owned municipal agency collects wastewater and runs a reclamation system that serves the sewer needs of about 5000 homes and businesses. At the foundation of this system, a recycling facility produces up to 1.3 mgd of reclaimed water.

Otay senior systems analyst Theresa Nakatani said that being organized is essential. But while the facilities are well-kept and the administrative offices are orderly, two years ago Otay had a predicament with organization.

The water district didn't have a centralized point to store all its maintenance history data. This obstacle meant that departments weren't using the same data, and workers had to try to locate the data in different departments. Researching and searching for information was a very time-consuming process. With a need for centralized data and integrated solutions, Otay decided it needed better software to manage its facilities. The water district turned to GBAMaster Series Inc. (gbaMS), Overland Park, Kan., for its infrastructure and asset management solutions. The GBA Master Series software suite allowed for integration with other software vendors, as Otay also sought help from software companies EDEN for financial management and DCSE for Web-based capabilities.

With gbaMS software, Otay could store all of its maintenance history data in one place with easy retrieval by anyone in the organization. This eliminated data redundancy between departments and increased productivity. “With gbaMS, everyone can access the data from their desktop,” said Nakatani. “It's much more convenient because they don't have to wait for others to help them find the data they need.”


Before Otay began using its new software, the water district faced another challenge. Without centralized data, analyzing current data and predicting future problems were not easy tasks, but gbaMS solved this problem. “Having gbaMS allowed us to see ‘hotspots,' mean ing we could see where the most amount of work was being done and where the most amount of work needed to be done,” said Nakatani.

With GBA Master Series, Otay workers can create, assign, and distribute work orders for maintenance requests. The software also lets the water district create preventative maintenance (PM) work orders. “Using PM work orders allow us to set up future work orders and schedule them,” said Nakatani. “This helps us plan routine maintenance work or upcoming tasks.

“In the long term, we look forward to a centralized place where we can store maintenance history because it will help our reporting, analysis, and productivity,” said Nakatani.

Many agencies that use this software have mobile wireless access to the gbaMS system, allowing field workers with laptops to view work requests, update work orders, and pull up maps and data in a spatial format with geographical information systems.

— Don Pinkston is the president and CEO of GBA Master Series Inc.