New York City DEP is using LakeWatch software to manage the data from monitoring reservoirs that provide 1.3 billion gallons of water to 9 million people every day…

INDUSTRY: Water Supply

PRACTICE: The client is a US government agency tasked with environmental protection. They provide approximately 1.3 billion gallons of high quality drinking water to almost nine million New Yorkers every day — eight million City residents and a million more people in Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Ulster Counties — plus many tourists and commuters who visit the City throughout the year. The source of this water supply is a network of 19 reservoirs in a 1,969 square-mile watershed that extends 125 miles north and west of New York City.

CHALLENGE: It was becoming very difficult to manage the large amounts of water quality data collected from the reservoirs in the Catskill/Delaware system, which accounts for 90% of the daily water consumption.

New York City DEP were using a mixture of spreadsheets and statistical packages to store and analyze water quality data, but this system was not providing them with timely and accurate information about the health of their reservoirs.

SOLUTION: Using LakeWatch software, Dr. Noel Burns, a world respected limnologist was able to take the water quality data from 6 reservoirs and calculate the trophic level for each reservoir. In addition, he was able to prove that nutrient levels were improving, but not as fast as had previously been suspected. This was a big job, made possible through the use of LakeWatch, a single software program designed to help stream line the analysis process.

Having seen the ease of calculating trophic (nutrient) levels in each of the reservoirs using LakeWatch, scientists at New York City DEP agreed to purchase the program and are now able to track changes in water quality themselves.

BENEFITS: The program is 70-80% faster than the old methods employed to calculate trophic levels in inland water. This time saving means that users are now able to spend more time making informed decisions about the sustainable management of their freshwater resources.

The database structure means that it is easy to retrieve data and because of the strict coding within the database, input errors are greatly reduced, and this in turn enhances the trend analysis.

The graphing functionality is easy to use and all graphs created are easily copied to Word documents or published to the web to help share the information with colleagues and the public alike.

The program requires a limited amount of training.

ENVIRONMENT: LakeWatch software version 2.0 (backend is a MS Access database).

SUMMARY: The customer needed a single application, with strong capacity for data storage and powerful trend analysis functionality. LakeWatch was able to provide the solution and as a result the New York City DEP are better informed about the nutrient levels in their reservoirs.

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