Enhancing Resilience: A Digital Solution for Puerto Rico’s Water and Sewer System

Jacobs and Palantir developed a Digital Resiliency and Response System to support the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority before, during and after a catastrophic event

Aerial view of Puerto Rico water and wastewater facility

The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) is the owner and operator of Puerto Rico’s potable water and wastewater systems and provides critical service to more than 99% of residents. Jacobs has been a trusted partner of PRASA for more than 20 years. As the program manager supporting their Capital Improvement Program, we have a clear objective: improving the long-term resilience of PRASA’s infrastructure beyond the immediate and short-term repairs. 

Resilience amidst complexity 

PRASA is one-of-a-kind utility facing many challenges, from aging infrastructure to natural disasters, that can disrupt the water supply and sewage systems endangering public health and safety. Events such as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes have the potential to inflict damage upon the infrastructure, causing disruptions in water supply and quality and significantly impacting the utility's ability to maintain service continuity. Historically, natural disasters and atmospheric events have exerted significant disruptions on PRASA's service, impairing its ability to operate the system during and in the aftermath of such events. PRASA is committed to diligently identifying the risks to service continuity and formulating a comprehensive plan to effectively mitigate these risks, so they turned to our team to leverage data-driven solutions for tomorrow.

Introducing the Digital Resiliency Response System

Jacobs, in collaboration with Palantir, is developing a Digital Resiliency and Response System (DRRS) that can support the day-to-day operations and the planning, response and recovery efforts related to a catastrophic event. This enterprise-level digital solution integrates advanced sensing, communication, hardware and software technologies to create an integrated digital platform to enhance PRASA's situational awareness, improving operational efficiency, and ensuring durability and sustainability in their service. The DRRS leverage the connectivity among assets and model the system operations providing PRASA with a real-time view of the system status and health aiming to minimize disruption to customer service, improve business continuity, mitigate and eliminates environmental impacts and provides pertinent information to facilitate critical response activities. This application is the largest implementation of Intelligent O&M, a Digital OneWater solution that provides direct and predictive guidance to frontline operations and maintenance staff. 

Leveraging Palantir’s Foundry platform, we’re empowering PRASA to make better data-driven decisions, optimize processes and achieve business goals effectively. The DRRS platform will provide PRASA with the following benefits: 

Planning and preparedness: 

  • DRRS equips PRASA with real-time data on water supply, sewage flow and infrastructure status. 
  • Predictive analytics will help anticipate issues before they escalate, allowing PRASA to allocate resources efficiently. 

Rapid response:

  • DRRS will incorporate data from various sources so if disaster strikes, DRRS provides instant alerts and actionable insights.
  • PRASA can swiftly mobilize teams, assess damage and prioritize recovery efforts. 

Collaboration and coordination: 

  • DRRS fosters seamless communication among PRASA teams, emergency responders and relevant agencies. 
  • Timely coordination ensures a unified response during crises. 

"PRASA stands as a unique water and sewer utility. As the sole provider of potable water and sewer treatment services to over one million customers, our system infrastructure integrates more than 4,000 operational assets,” says PRASA Executive Director of Infrastructure Joel Lugo. “We face recurrent risks from natural disasters as well as potential cyberattacks. The Digital Resiliency and Response System (DRRS) is poised to significantly transform PRASA’s operative capabilities. It empowers us to operate with unwavering resilience, responsiveness and commitment based on our philosophy of customer service, even in the most challenging circumstances.” 

The first version of DRRS will be implemented and will go-live in time for use during the 2024 hurricane season. The DRRS project will continue to enhance the system after the hurricane season by adding additional data sources, advanced analytics and AI, along with the development of a physical command and control center that enhances PRASA’s ability to manage operations in challenging conditions. 

“Our clients are navigating the digital transformation and growing cyber risks to their operations. Positioned at the forefront of this growth, we’ve placed data solutions at the heart of our business, adding digital capabilities, products and tools,” says Jacobs Vice President Farhan Shaikh. “We recognize that every client will adopt digital technologies at their own pace, and we’re there to support them at every step of their journey.”

Future Foundations.

Co-creating the world to come

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From developing climate resilience and transitioning to a low-carbon future, to modernizing and transforming infrastructure, governments and businesses face critical challenges. How they respond will define our future.

As our clients navigate these challenges, we help them think differently – working together to pioneer tomorrow's infrastructure solutions and build the foundations for a prosperous, secure future. 

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