The Watershed Protection Department protects lives, property and the environment of the Austin community by reducing the impact of flood, erosion and water pollution.
The Flood Early Warning System, floodplain studies and mapping, water quality field sampling and analysis, computer modeling of drainage systems, electronic work tracking, and televised inspection of drainage pipes for condition assessment are just some of the ways technology is employed to combat these problems.
The seven-member Data Management section is the core IT support unit for the department. It provides core services for department IT planning and coordination, development and system analysis. The section also provides data development, management and technical support. In addition, seven other highly qualified information technology specialists are embedded within the department business units to provide localized support for some of the most complex information systems. WPD is by far the single largest user base of Geographic Information System (GIS) software in the City.
2016 Facts and Figures
7 full-time Information Technology employees
$1,008,517 Information Technology annual budget
Highlights and Achievements
The FloodPro online web application was completely rewritten in a modern web mapping application framework. The City has standardized its development strategy on this framework which provides all applications in a similar look and feel. FloodPro 2.0 now supports handheld devices (iOS, Android), runs much faster, is easier to use, and has experienced significantly fewer end user issues.
The use of mechanized crawlers to perform televised inspection of underground storm drains improves the accuracy of data and mapping. This is a key component technology used to find and correct infrastructure deficiencies before they can impact the storm drain’s ability to handle storm water flows. In 2016, more than 29 miles of Austin’s oldest storm drains were TV-inspected. The resulting information is being used to correct and enhance maps and data systems.
The department completed a major update of its primary IT planning document. The WPD Information Management Plan 2016 incorporates and builds on prior planning efforts in 1998 and 2006. The 2016 update gathered business needs from staff to look for common gaps that could be addressed through strategic technology enhancements. Each project recommended in the plan attempts to align with current industry best practices and the City of Austin corporate IT roadmap.