Harnessing technology to create a data-driven City of Salinas Stormwater Program

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News Date: 
July 13, 2018

Regulatory compliance drives the direction and focus of municipal stormwater, public works, planning, and water resource programs everywhere.  Regulatory permits require data collection and assessment.  Data is often collected via paper and reported in PDF documents where “data goes to die”. The City of Salinas is using Esri1 technology to create a more efficient and effective program with decision support tools to improve communication with regulators, elected officials, funders and the public.

The City of Salinas stormwater program has turned to cloud-based GIS tools and advanced spatial analytics to visualize and analyze stormwater analytical and asset data collected by field inspection staff with mobile apps.  These technology resources help integrate topography with the city storm drain network in order to spatially link the urban landscape to the waterways to which it drains.  They also streamline data collection and quantify program progress, which supports regulatory reporting, and ultimately demonstrate regulatory compliance and educate the community on the value of stormwater as a resource and its impact to water quality.

The City of Salinas Public Works Department has recognized the facilities maintenance efficiencies ArcGIS tools provide for many years, but now they are leveraging 2NDNATURE’s (2N) science-based system insights to overcome their stormwater program challenges by collecting smarter data and streamlining regulatory reporting.  Mapped inspection results convey information elegantly and focus attention on where maintenance or improvements are needed. Using 2N tools, Salinas now has efficient and smart inspection methods that meet regulatory requirements while providing the City with an adaptive framework to optimize maintenance with limited resources.  Beyond stormwater asset management, Salinas has utilized these tools to develop a stormwater runoff and pollutant loading model that puts quantified stormwater program effectiveness metrics at the City’s fingertips.

The City’s stormwater program manager, Heidi Niggemeyer, was invited to make a presentation on this subject at the National ESRI conference held July 10 - 13, 2018 in San Diego.   The presenta-tion highlighted how utilizing ArcGIS-based tools allows the City to collect and manage data in a more robust fashion, facilitating data analysis to determine program implementation progress.   2N tools allow for more efficient field inspections and maintenance activities.  Maps are generated to effectively view and communicate program implementation activities and results.  Utilizing a data-driven approach, transparent mapped views of the City and pollutant loading models help the City determine program compliance, program implementation effectiveness, and make programmatic decisions and changes with limited City resources.  The City of Salinas was also highlighted in this month’s ArcGIS Newsletter which can be accessed here:

https://www.esri.com/about/newsroom/arcnews/startup-takes-on-stormwater-management-and-salinas-gains-efficiency/

 

1Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), a privately held geographic information systems (GIS) software company.