Hebert is a small community along the banks of the Boeuf River in Caldwell Parish, just south of Monroe, Louisiana. Like most small, rural water systems, much of the operations of the system are placed on the shoulders of one person.

For Hebert Water System, that one person is Randy Mills. He’s been the manager of the water system for more than 20 years. Everyone who knows him is quick to credit Randy for guiding the system to its many successes.

In Randy’s hands, Hebert Water System has thrived. It has even won awards. Among its bragging rights, the Hebert Water System earned the title of the best-tasting water in the entire state of Louisiana from 2010-2012.

Recently, Randy started thinking about his retirement. Recent improvements had the water system on a sound footing. But before he could pass the keys to another manager. Randy wanted a GIS map for the system.

Herbert needed assistance with their Letter of Conditions for a USDA loan and was referred to Communities Unlimited. He soon learned we could offer an affordable GIS (Global Information Systems) mapping option.

GIS mapping uses satellites to accurately plot points on a map, which can be combined with other data to create a variety of maps, much like online maps that show the locations of restaurants, gas stations and shops. The technology can show a full map of the system itself or be queried to display only certain meters, valves, system pressurization hot spots, or whatever the operator needed to see. It’s similar to a person search Google Maps looking for only Italian restaurants.

Over four days, staff from Hebert Water System and Communities Unlimited collected points for the maps using a GIS receiver. The more than 1,500 points collected covered everything from customer meters to valves, fire hydrants and other important points within the water system.

Communities Unlimited returned to the Hebert Water System to train the staff on how to use the system. The training ensured that everyone could use the new GIS mapping system and that they could pass the knowledge on to future employees and board members of the water system. This means that the Hebert Water System will be able to continue to offer top-notch service to customers with a new generation of employees.

Randy said, “We appreciate you coming, explaining the requirements and helping us implement a plan. We could not have done it without you. It has been a pleasure to meet and work with you.”

For Randy, the projects with Communities Unlimited have allowed him to rest easy about his upcoming retirement. With a water system that is set for the future, he can be sure that those who come after him will have all the knowledge, skills and data they need to continue to provide top-notch water service to Hebert Water System’s customers for years to come.