Monday 23 April 2018

Troubled Irish Water wins global award for software use - at ceremony organised by company who designed it

Metering Programme to Start in Kildare
Metering Programme to Start in Kildare

Paul O'Donoghue

Beleaguered utility Irish Water has landed an award for its quick implementation of a geographic information system (GIS) that was designed by the company who organised the awards ceremony.

A geographic information system is a platform designed to store, analyse and manage types of spatial or geographical data.

The award was given at the 2015 Esri User Conference in San Diego, the largest known geospatial technology event for state agencies.

Esri is a US company that supplies GIS software.

The award was received for the work done in deploying the ArcGIS platform. The ArcGIS platform is designed by Esri.

A spokesperson for Esri said that Irish Water was able to fully consolidate its operations onto a single geographic platform in 12 months and was then able to install water meters in 1.3m houses. Irish Water programme manager Paul Ahern said "We have all water assets for the whole country in a single geodatabase.

"To trade and analyse information off this single source is a huge benefit."

A spokeswoman for Irish Water said: "This award was received for the work done in deploying the ArcGIS platform solution in a challenging 12 month timeframe and for bringing water asset data together from a variety of Local Authority legacy systems.

"The national geodatabase across departments in asset management, workflows, capital investments, strategic planning and customer services. This means Irish Water is able to deliver water services in a more efficient and timely manner and from a national perspective."

More than 2,000 users currently access the national geodatabase across departments such as operations, strategic planning, and customer services.

The announcement comes shortly after the chief executive of Ervia, the parent company of Irish Water, said the controversial utility may not exist after the next general election. Speaking at the MacGill Summer School in Donegal, Michael McNicholas also conceded that the company will not be able to survive without public support.

"We have been very clear that we cannot deliver on the previous plans that were put forward," he said. "We have put forward a realistic engineering plan that we believe will address these issues sensibly and in a time frame that is acceptable, and we are very committed to delivering this plan; that is provided we are still around after the next election, I should say," Mr McNicholas said.

A spokeswoman for Irish Water, which is headed by John Tierney, said McNicholas "believes strongly" that a national utility is needed to develop Ireland's water infrastructure.

She said: "There are some voices that still say they actually want to abolish Irish Water and a central point of Michael's speech was to challenge those who say this to explain how they propose to deal with these problems if they do so."

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