The Jacksonville City Water Works Department took considerable steps in 2012 to modernize its office operations to become more productive, according to Jim Peacock, chairman of the city’s water commission.

Peacock’s comments came when the commission filed its 2012 annual report with the Jacksonville City Council.

"Jacksonville Water Works completed a utility billing/management software conversion integrating all aspects of utility services," Peacock said. "The software application conversions included back flow, inventory, payroll, budget and accounting, general ledger, as well as utility billing."

Peacock said the new system allows the department to streamline its operations.

"Tasks and reports that once took days to complete are now finalized within seconds," Peacock said. "With this data we are able to provide the residents and businesses of Jacksonville with real time data on their water use. This allows us the ability to address issues faster and also allow those customers that may be experiencing high usage the ability to take the appropriate steps to curtail and/or locate problems before a large bill occurs. We are very excited about these upgrades and the opportunity we have to place a direct focus on the needs of Jacksonville water users and their water needs."

Peacock also highlighted several other improvement projects during the year, including:

— Installing 13,720 linear feet of pipe;

— Adding 19 fire hydrants; 69 valves, and updating 158 existing water services.

"At the end of 2012 we had 11,205 water meters in the water distribution system which includes 85 new water services," he added.

Operating and managing the water works operation was accomplished with 34 employees, 12 of whom are licensed by the Arkansas Department of health to property operate the water system with three additional workers in the process of completing their water operator licenses, he said.

The department now accepts online payments through a secure Internet site.

"In the year 2012, we received 6,803 online payments totaling $620,369," he said. "We have received many positive comments from our customers using this updated service."

Peacock said water production was up in 2012.

"On June 30, 2012, we reached a peak demand for the year of seven million gallons," he said. "This is over the previous year’s peak water flow of 6.5 million gallons that occurred on Aug. 4, 2011."

Total water production for 2012 was 1.4 billion gallons, which is a 2.2 percent increase from the previous year.

"Our average daily water flow for the year was 3.9 million gallons per day," he said.

"We appreciate your confidence and continued support in working with the Jacksonville Water Commission towards the completion of the important capital projects set forth in the Water Master Plan," Peacock said. "The scope of the projects included in the master plan will insure our city will have a safe and adequate supply of high quality water for the future growth of the great city of Jacksonville today, tomorrow and for many years to come."