In our ACE22 Experience: Part 1 blog, we shared how our work relates to space and how we enjoyed meeting and talking with NASA Associate Administrator, Thomas Zurbuchen. In this blog, we share the rest of the story!
In addition to Dr. Zurbuchen’s keynote address, we enjoyed the address of AWWA President, Chi Ho Sham, where he shared some of the current successes and challenges of our industry. ASTERRA’s Recover product for satellite-based leak detection won the inaugural AWWA’s 2021 Innovation Award, and since that award, our team has expanded our services and levels of innovation.
As the winner of the award, on Tuesday, James Perry was invited to present to an audience how ASTERRA went from conception to implementation, sharing experiences that give insight and inspire the water industry to develop an innovative mindset with which to solve water challenges. James also shared the barriers to innovation and the challenges which arise for an innovation to be adopted by an industry that is as steeped in tradition as are water utilities.
On Wednesday, Bruno Tume spoke to a crowded room on how the key to real water loss reduction is managing non-surfacing leaks. He used the example of the Henry County Public Service Authority, which had an increasing real water loss over a period of time, and established a program to reduce this trend. Using ASTERRA’s Recover satellite technology to identify likely leaking locations (LLL) within their system, Henry County PSA located 311 leaks pursuant to one service resulting in real water loss going from increasing at 29% per year to decreasing at 12% per year.
This year, ASTERRA hosted a partner theater at our booth, where various valued industry partners gathered to share their insights and methods for success. Each presentation at the partner theater was recorded and will be available on our resources page as they are edited.
At the partner theater, Tad Bohannon, chief executive officer of Central Arkansas Water (CAW), spoke along with Vessel the leak detection dog. In their presentation, called “Central Arkansas Water – From Satellite to Snout,” Bohannon discussed how Vessel is an important part of achieving their program goals of reducing leaks of potable water. She performs the work of a human, but in a different way. A rescue, Vessel is trained to sniff out the chlorine that’s present in treated water, and when she smells it, she lies down, and barks when she finds the leak. At our booth, we were also joined by Stephen Sullivan, Vessel’s handler at CAW, where Vessel showed her skills of catching balls and playing with her many fans.
ASTERRA was pleased to host the only conference speakers in the Spanish language when they welcomed, guests from channel partners in Mexico, Hidromedidores. The first speaker was Leonardo Gonzales, discussing “Casos de Éxito de Asterra en México,” presented in Spanish, and later in English. Leonardo shared information and examples of numerous successful leak detection programs in Mexico. Additional Spanish language presentations included Héctor Juárez, of Hidromedidores, who spoke on the topic of “Asociación para traer ASTERRA a México” in Spanish, and Melissa Peralta, of Hidromedidores, who spoke on “Evolución de la detección de fugas en campo.”
Since every utility is looking to simplify and integrate their programs, the ASTERRA partner theater provided information of how ASTERRA services and technology are designed to integrate smoothly with other systems commonly in use by utilities. Jeff Shaner from Esri presented about “Field Maps: A single app to support field workflows.” Hunter Sparks, of Innovyze, an Autodesk Company, spoke on “Using Innovyze, an Autodesk Company & ASTERRA Technology in Asset Management.”
John Stevens of ASTERRA shared the “Basics of Satellite Leak Detection,” a primer for those who wanted to learn a basic understanding of this solution. He also spoke on “Using Satellite Radar Imaging to Detect Pipeline Leaks in Hilton Head,” and a case study on using “Recover – Satellite Leak Detection and New Braunfels Utilities in Texas.” Also from ASTERRA, Eric Trerotola, spoke on the use of Recover in partnership with Aqua America Illinois. The final ASTERRA speaker was Bruno Tume, providing more details of Henry County, Virginia’s innovative satellite leak detection method and results.
The partner theater was a gold mine of information, and all will be available on our resources page.
Bringing people together to celebrate successes and share ideas is one of our favorite parts of a great conference like ACE22. After two years on hiatus, we knew everyone was ready to get together and have some fun, and everyone had a great time at our hosted VIP reception. We were able to escape the record-breaking San Antonio heat in the historic Charles Court to enjoy great conversation and some of Texas’ famous margaritas. ASTERRA was happy to host our many friends and colleagues.
ACE22 was an amazing week. Thanks to the city of San Antonio, the AWWA, and all our partners and colleagues for making ACE22 safe and fruitful. We are excited to build deeper collaborations toward a common goal of preserving and conserving our precious resource of water.
Check out our StoryMaps for more pictures and details.