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Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans

“Our mission is to enhance the level of service we extend to both our valued customers and cherished visitors, recognizing that they deserve nothing short of excellence.”

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) has been making significant strides in recent years to revitalize and modernize not only its equipment but also its relationship with the community. Under the leadership of Executive Director Ghassan Korban, SWBNO has developed a strategic plan for the utility with six focus areas: Customer Service Excellence, Technology Modernization, Financial Stability, Workforce Development, Organizational and Operational Improvement, and Infrastructure Resiliency and Reliability.

This commitment has led to the updating of decades-old water meters with much more efficient Smart Meters.

“Our goal is to ultimately address one of the major issues of the past years: inaccurate and untimely billing that has caused frustration among our customers,” said Korban. “We believe our Smart Metering program will resolve this problem and provide the quality service our customers deserve.”

SWBNO is on track to replace nearly 140,000 manually-read water meters with digital Smart Meters.  Smart meters take accurate, frequent readings that are automatically sent through our secure network. This state-of-the-art system can detect anything from minor leaks to issues with the water distribution network, a task that was previously impossible with outdated equipment.

Unlike traditional water meters that require manual reading, the Smart Metering system allows customers to access their data in near real-time through an online portal. This will ensure accuracy and complete transparency between SWBNO and its customers. A comprehensive overhaul of the system is imperative for a city with not only 400,000 residents but also millions of annual visitors. Thanks to Mayor Cantrell’s Fair Share funding commitment, millions of dollars have been redirected to local infrastructure—a crucial investment for this much-needed initiative.

“The City of New Orleans boasts a rich history spanning 305 years, attracting individuals from across the globe who seek to immerse themselves in its vibrant culture,” elaborates Korban. “Our mission is to enhance the level of service we extend to both our valued customers and cherished visitors, recognizing that they deserve nothing short of excellence.”

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The implementation of the Smart Metering system will begin in the Fall of 2023, with completion scheduled for the end of 2026. The installation process is expected to have minimal impact on most residential customers, as replacing each meter is estimated to take 15 to 30 minutes on average, with no additional installation cost.

Smart Metering signifies just one part of a substantial upgrade to New Orleans’ water systems. Through several current capital projects, the SWBNO team remains committed to fostering a culture of proactive maintenance of our aging infrastructure. Guided by this principle, the SWBNO team is actively working on the realization of a new Power Complex, the replacement of nearly 120-year-old water and sewer mains across the city as part of the $2.3 billion Roadwork NOLA program, and establishing an advisory committee to cultivate avenues for SWBNO employees and customers to propose novel and exciting ideas to maximize customer satisfaction.

“We provide three critical and indispensable services to our city: drinking water, wastewater collection, and stormwater management, said Korban. “These are vital elements of a thriving city that we can ensure through proper investment.”

While significant progress is being made, SWBNO acknowledges the hurdles of modernization after decades of underinvestment and deteriorating infrastructure. However, under the leadership of Korban, the ongoing series of improvements is poised to leave a lasting impact not only on this generation but on the generations to come.

“We are not building for just the short term,” said Korban. “We are instilling hope that this city will continue to be well-served by our utility for the next fifty years and beyond.”

 

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625 St Joseph Street | New Orleans | 504-52-WATER | swbno.org
4021 Behrman Place, Suite M-2 | New Orleans

 

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