7 billion and counting

“Your aquifer is the only part of your well system that you can’t replace.”

CaptureThat was the opening line at a lecture I attended last week at the NGWA Ground Water Expo in Las Vegas. The speaker, John Jansen, is the 2013 McEllhiney lecturer for the National Ground Water Research and Education Foundation (NGWREF), and he holds a PhD in Geological Sciences. His presentation is titled Keeping the Pumped Primed – Aquifer Sustainability.

John opened the presentation with a sobering look at the world population over the last 10,000 years. For most of that time the human population grew very slowly, taking until the industrial revolution to reach 1 billion people. It took another 100 years to get to 2 billion in 1927. But by 1960, there were 3 billion on the planet. In 1974 we hit 4 billion, 5 billion in 1987, 6 billion in 1999, and 7 billion just last year. Estimates are that even with controls, the world’s population will be 10 billion by 2100.

That’s a lot of people who will need water. Here’s where John’s presentation got even more interesting. There are 332 million cubic miles of water on earth, but 97.5% of that is in the oceans. That leaves 2.5% as freshwater, but 69% of that is tied up near the poles in glaciers. The vast majority of that is groundwater, and surface water comprises less than 0.4% of freshwater. You’ve no doubt heard some of these numbers before, but John presents them better graphically than I’ve ever seen. The message is clear: we simply cannot survive without sustaining the groundwater in our aquifers. It’s not only the future of our industry and your business, but it’s the future for much of human society.

All of that was in the first ten minutes of John’s presentation, but John’s perspective is not one of gloom and doom. From there, he moved into the details of how to sustain an aquifer for the very long term–not from an academic viewpoint, but from his real world experience in balancing local economic and political realities with environmental needs, as well as the steps needed for successful aquifer management.

The NGWREF McEllhiney Lecture Series gets stronger every year, and 2013 will be no exception. John will be presenting his lecture throughout the coming year, very likely at a state convention or event you are attending. I highly encourage you to attend. It will be time well-spent.

The McEllhiney Lecture Series in Water Well Technology is made possible by a grant from Franklin Electric.

Inspiring confidence, part 2

A year ago, I wrote Inspiring Confidence about the numerous benefits of completing a Franklin Electric 2207 – Submersible Motor Installation Record. Although a completed 2207 has technical benefits, the real value is the confidence it inspires when you hand it to your customer after the installation is complete.

If the 2207 covers submersibles, what about aboveground pumps? Franklin Electric offers a similar installation form for those as well. In this case, it’s not called a 2207, but–you guessed it–a 2208 Form – Surface Pump Installation Data.

Much like the 2207 form for submersibles, the 2208 form for surface pumps is very complete and can be used as part of the documentation process for returning a pump for analysis or warranty consideration. It asks for a lot of information, but also includes a checklist to help make sure you’ve covered everything. And although it’s three pages long, you probably won’t need to fill out the entire form for most installations.

An interactive PDF version of Franklin Electric’s 2208 can be found on Franklin Electric’s website in the Americas Water Systems section under Special Documents on the Industrial & Irrigation Surface Pumps page, but here’s a direct link: Form 2208.

Realistically, if you’ve got a 1/2 horsepower jet pump installation, completing an entire 2208 is probably excessive. But just like the 2207, that’s not the point. The point is how impressed your customer is going to be when the job is complete and you hand him that completed 2208. Once again, by investing a few minutes, you’ll leave a positive, lasting impression on your customer; he’ll know that YOU know what you’re doing. When that system needs service down the road, he will pull out that 2208 and call you, not someone else.

Working smarter

A few weeks ago I wrote about the benefits that come from completing a Franklin Electric 2207 Submersible Motor Installation Record for each and every installation. Last week, while visiting a large contractor in the southwestern US, I saw a variation on that theme.

That part of the country has some of the toughest conditions anywhere, so the contractor puts a flow sleeve (shroud) on each large submersible he installs–every single one. Then at the installation, not only does he complete a 2207, but he also marks the shroud in heavy, permanent marker with all the pertinent information about that installation. He includes the customer name, order/job number, date installed, location, water depth, GPM, etc. Even if he loses that 2207, he still has a downhole record in the event he ever has to pull that pump.

Sure, this means a little more work at the time of installation, but it can save valuable time down the road. If that unit ever has to come out of the hole, it’s easy to tell which one is which when it ends up in a pile of others back on the shop floor. A shroud and a Sharpie might be all it takes to cut your administrative time by a bundle.

I learn something new whenever I spend time in the field. This contractor reminded me of the value of working smarter, not harder. If you’ve got tips and tricks you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear them.

Inspiring confidence

Here’s a great way to build your professional reputation by inspiring confidence in your work among your customers. For each and every installation, whether it’s a new one or a service call, complete a Franklin Electric 2207 Form – Submersible Motor Installation Record. Then, hand your customer a copy of it with your business card attached.

A completed 2207 contains all the details of a submersible installation. In an instant, you’ve demonstrated that you haven’t just replaced or installed something, but that you’ve taken the time to analyze and understand his water system needs and which products are best suited for it. Granted, your customer may not understand everything on the form, but it doesn’t matter. The point is that it conveys your competence and professionalism. Besides, you can always take the time to explain it more, further highlighting your expertise.

There are other benefits to a completed 2207, as well. On some Franklin products, if a warranty is later required, Franklin Electric will ask for a copy of the installation’s 2207. But even if a warranty isn’t ever involved, you still have a permanent record of that installation’s specifics. So, if the customer calls with an issue 5 years later, you already know most of the details. Now you can focus on what changed in the installation.

There’s a 2207 in every Franklin Electric AIM Manual. It’s near the middle, and it’s perfectly okay to make and use as many copies of that as you need. For an electronic copy, go to the Franklin website, where you can download a PDF version. That PDF is “interactive”. That is, you can either print out a blank copy or actually complete the 2207 on your  computer. Continue reading