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State Water Board Seeks Help With Data Refresh

In a request for proposals, the California State Water Resources Control Board is calling for assistance in creating a new data system.

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An entity that’s one of six branches of the California Environmental Protection Agency is seeking assistance from IT vendors for a technology refresh.

In a request for proposals (RFP) released Wednesday, the California Department of Technology (CDT) on behalf of the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) issued the “Updating Water Rights Data (UPWARD) solicitation.” The two state entities seek “expertise and services” to update the board’s “core water rights data management system,” standing up “digitized paper records to the geospatial product” that will enable 24/7 electronic access to water rights files; and offering “policy recommendations and investments to transition to real-time water use monitoring and data collection.” Among the takeaways:

  • The board needs the new water rights data management system, UPWARD, to replace its existing Electronic Water Rights Information Management System (eWRIMS) and Report Management System (RMS). These, generally, “collect water rights reporting information, calculate fees associated with various water right types and processes, exchange data with internal and external data systems, maintain digital records of data currently contained on paper, and include functionality to support staff review of reported information,” according to the RFP. Part of the “competitive procurement” will be a proof of concept (POC) and “negotiation session(s) to ensure the state’s ability to obtain the best value proposal based on the requirements and the evaluation factors set forth” in the solicitation. It follows “a phased approach that includes multiple submissions and evaluations to” identify the bidder that ultimately will develop UPWARD.
  • The solicitation is being done via Public Contract Code 6611 which, generally, allows vendor negotiation. Per the RFP, it “allows the state and bidders an opportunity to discuss items that could, in the state’s opinion, enhance the bidder’s proposal and potential for award. Negotiations are not intended to allow a bidder to completely rewrite their proposal.” Rather, they’re “undertaken with the intent of allowing the bidder to revise their Final Proposal only in those areas determined by the state during the negotiation process.” Negotiations may be oral or in writing. Competitive negotiation can, the state said, ensure bidders can show they can meet state requirements; ensure the state is clear on how that will be done; and give bidders a chance to discuss responses and make corrections. Proposals are confidential until after the issuance of the notification of award.
  • A lack of quality assurance and control, the RFP said, have led to data inaccuracies “as high as 85% in some watersheds,” and while the board has the reporting authority to enable automatic uploads of “telemetered water use data,” the existing system isn’t ready for the input and can’t integrate “real time water use data.” Other challenges with the existing system include a lack of integration of water use, locational and temporal data; an inability to expand within “proprietary systems” and to connect with other data systems; and a large volume of paper records that aren’t accessible to the online system. As a result of this and other issues, data is stored in multiple locations, some redundant, and there’s an inability to access all records electronically and to do quality assurance/control on “mixed data sources.”
  • The new system proposed, UPWARD, will replace two existing solutions to collect water rights reporting data, calculate the fees associated with water right types and processes, exchange data with “internal and external data systems,” migrate data to digital; yield a unified location for all division data; and offer seamless interaction with digitized records. It should also offer “a new data quality assurance and control framework that is sustainable long-term,” user-defined dashboards, maps and reports that can be customized; the ability to scale; modified forms and web map interfaces “for reporters to contribute meaningful data to the system,” and availability of real-time data.
  • The contract term is three years, with the state retaining the option of three additional one-year extensions for a maximum six-year contract term. A precise value isn’t stated. The solicitation is a “multi-step single competitive procurement” in three phases. Generally, the most qualified Phase 1 bidders move on to Phase 2 after the submission and evaluation of responses; chosen bidders move from Phase 2 to Phase 3 after POC builds, responses and evaluations; and the successful Phase 3 bidder will be chosen after negotiation, best and final offers (BAFO) and evaluation. Phase 1 responses are due at 12 p.m. Jan. 28; Phase 2 responses are due at 12 p.m. April 22; and Phase 3 BAFOs are due at 12 p.m. June 3. A contract award is expected June 24.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.