It may seem like an unlikely source of tech jobs in Nevada County, but the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is actually one of the larger organizations in our County that hires professionals with tech skills. Local ranchers and farmers started the NID in 1921 so that they could ensure a reliable water source for farms in Nevada County. Today the NID has grown to employ nearly 200 people. The organization supplies treated drinking water and irrigation water to Nevada, Placer, and Yuba counties. They have expanded their services to offer hydro-electric power generation and recreational facilities like Scott’s Flat Lake.
Technology Increases Efficiency, Makes Customers Happy
In recent years, technology has made the management of all of this water, power, and recreation easier, and more secure. For instance, NID is in the process of upgrading over 19,000 water meters to wireless connection units, allowing for long-term cost efficiency and real-time use notification in the event of a local emergency. The NID’s Hydro department can see what is happening in remote power plants and at dam sites from their desks, in real time, through SCADA devices that are constantly monitoring the sites. Even the NID’s recreation experience has been improved through technology. Campers can reserve campsites online for Scott’s Flat campground and access WiFi while they are there.
Serving the Community
Greg Jones, Assistant General Manager, makes sure NID keeps their focus on the community. “We have always served the community,” he said. “Our mission is to provide clean, reliable water to the communities we serve. Everything else came out of that.” IT Analyst and Acting IT Supervisor J.R. Lewis enjoys using technology to increase efficiency and to add value for NID’s customers. “We look for ways to save money so that we don’t have to increase rates — we have some of the lowest rates in the state for water,” he said.
NID customers still can’t pay their water bill online, but that is something Mr. Lewis would like to see in the near future. It may seem like these changes take a long time to implement, but public safety is a major concern for the NID. With responsibility for such critical resources as water and power, they must ensure that their systems are as secure as possible, and fail-proof. This takes time.
Public Safety and Transparency
The NID is working to balance public safety with transparency. All of their board meetings are streamed live online and archived for anyone to watch at any time. Because the NID is a special district, governed by publicly elected officials, all of NID ‘s administrative, operational and financial documents are public knowledge. This contributes to a happy, inclusive organizational culture.