Business consultants are helping water infrastructure owners build and operate their own water systems.
The problem is, they don’t always know what they’re doing.
But now they’re learning how to do it.
Reporter: The problem, of course, is that most people are not trained in the basics of water infrastructure.
Water systems are the backbone of our nation’s economy, and it’s one of the most vital infrastructure sectors.
It is so critical to our national economy.
Reporter/Reporter: Some of those experts are now using some of the same tools and techniques they used decades ago.
Reporter Chris Bode, who has been helping water utilities build their own networks, is on a mission to help them.
Chris BODE: We’ve been able to help thousands of the world’s largest water utilities to build their networks.
And, they’re just starting to come together, Chris.
Reporter Bode: Many are using a new tool called Connections, which is designed to simplify the process.
It’s designed to allow users to start by finding a network of water supply connections that are closest to them.
It will take some trial and error to figure out which connections are the right ones, but it’s worth it, Chris, because it can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Reporter Christopher Bode is the founder of Connections.
And he’s been helping companies build and run their own network for years.
Christopher BODE, FORMER BUSINESS CONSULTANT: I think for a lot of businesses, it’s the only way they can really really get started.
Reporter Bruce Bausch, the chief executive of the Water Networking Association, agrees.
BRUCE BACHSCH, DIRECTOR OF WATER NETWORKING ASSOCIATION: We know how to build our own water supply, but for those of us who are new to the business, it can be very intimidating to get started, and then to have to navigate through all of the different kinds of regulatory issues, which we’ve never had to deal with.
Reporter David Lachapelle, who helped a water utility build a network for a customer in California.
DAVID LACHAPLEE, COACH, HOSPITAL HOST: This is the kind of thing you learn the hard way.
Reporter Lachapeelle’s company, Lifesource, has been building and operating its own water network in the San Francisco Bay Area for years, but recently, he says they realized the system wasn’t up to scratch.
David LACHAPELEE: They were like, we have to get more water.
So they had to learn how to use Connections and start building more networks.
Reporter Linda Rieker, the vice president of marketing for Lifesave, says she learned about Connections through her own experiences in the industry.
LINDSEY RIEKER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, LAS VEGAS: It was a little bit like I had a really cool idea for a new product and I didn’t know how, you know, I could actually build it.
So I was like, what do you know about building networks?
Reporter Riekers was able to learn more and learn from other experts, so she started using the same method she used for Lifeforce.
She said it’s easy to use.
Reporter Riveker said Connections takes only a few minutes to set up, and that it can provide a better service than anything they could build themselves.
Reporter Brian Smith, who is the director of research and analytics for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Connectations is “a great starting point for anyone wanting to start a network.”
BRUCBET SMITH, FORD DEVICES RESEARCHER: Connections has an interface for people to set things up.
It has a lot more functionality than just what a typical network looks like.
Reporter Smith said Connectors is also flexible and can be modified to fit a specific customer’s needs.
Brian Smith said the most important thing is to have the right connection in place.
Reporter Steve Hochstein, the founder and CEO of Hochsteins, said the technology is simple, but can be applied to a lot different kinds and industries.
STEVE HOPSTEINS, FORDIES RESEARCES CORPS: The idea is to build a whole network of interconnected water systems, but we’re not trying to be an ISP.
We’re trying to make a better network.
Reporter Hochschild said Connectings is not just a simple tool to create a better system, it will be a tool that will help everyone build a water network that works for them.
Reporter Dan Smith, a former CEO of the National Guard in West Virginia, said connecting to the water grid requires an understanding of what’s happening at the water source.
Dan SMITH: You’ve got to be very, very careful about what you’re doing in the water system.
It might not be safe, but you don’t want