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NID’s new website promotes customer interface

NID adopts platform created by Streamline, a website designer that specializes in servicing special districts.

The Nevada Irrigation District launched its new website earlier this week, giving the 100-year-old special district a dynamic platform to interface with customers.

NID’s Public Information Officer Tomi Rielly said the original motivation to revise the district site — http://www.nidwater.com — came from concerns surrounding state laws on accessibility and transparency.

“We have some regulatory requirements as to how we present information,” Rielly said.



Rielly described the previous website as “static,” and lamented the complicated workarounds required each time NID needed to update the site with new information for payees.

NID workers break ice on the Cascade Canal to ensure consistent water flow throughout the watershed. Customers can review what NID is doing on the special district’s updated website: http://www.nidwater.com.
Submitted to The Union

“It wasn’t a simple process,” Rielly said.



Rielly said Streamline, the company that created the web platform NID just adopted, has a comprehensive understanding of the needs and interests of special districts.

“All they think about is how to provide special districts a platform where they don’t have to think about compliance,” Rielly said.

Streamline ensures that any data presented on the platform automatically complies with all the government regulations and expectations, Rielly explained.

Rielly said the district never received complaints about accessibility on the previous site, but said now those who work for NID can focus on the watershed itself, as opposed to writing code for a public-facing website.

“There are many different types of abilities — hearing and visuals,” Rielly added, “within that, the way someone sees colors, or their experience of blindness varies.”

Rielly said the district values communication with its customers, but updating the old site required considerable time and energy.

“It was old and bulky and became very cumbersome to work with when we needed edits,” Rielly said.

Rielly said Streamline designed a platform that frees NID’s full-time employees to actually respond to the needs of their customers as opposed to fretting about communicating clearly in the first place.

“We wanted assurance that we were legally compliant with less effort,” Rielly said. “Now, we’ve gained a site that is better looking and easier to use internally and externally.”

Rielly said she is most excited for an aspect of the site that is not required by law, but certainly convenient — the site’s Customer Service tab. Under it, customers can check the status of their account, look up rates, review local outages, report emergencies and apply for the Low Income Rate Assistance Program.

“We were able to take all the customer service needs and put it under one tab,” Rielly said. “We didn’t have that before. You had to hunt around.”

Rielly said going forward, Streamline will update the site as often as a new transparency or accessibility bill is passed in California.

Rielly said NID’s new face is meant to reflect its commitment to all the stakeholders of the watershed.

“Communicating with the community is an important part of our operations and trust is a part of that,” Rielly. “Being legally compliant can function as the base of trust.”

Rielly said the special district formed in August 1921 from reservoirs and canal systems created on behalf of gold mines. Now, NID moves enough water to irrigate 30,000 acres of agriculture land in the surrounding area and provide 3 billion gallons of drinking water a year.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com.


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