Despite the symbiotic relationship between energy savings and optimizing pump systems, pairing the two is a relatively novel concept for the industry. To help bridge this gap, the Hydraulic Institute (HI) founded the nonprofit initiative Pump Systems Matter™ (PSM) to educate the pump industry on the vitality of equipment optimization. 

As the program approaches its 16th year milestone, it is prudent to reflect on the importance of such initiatives. Currently, leaders in the pump industry as well as an endless list of industries where pumps play a vital role, are being confronted with significant challenges to workforce acquisition and development. The solutions to such a challenge will likely be numerous and multifaceted. However, organizations like PSM can play an important role in delivering the right education and credentials to the right people tasked with advancing critical understandings of pump technologies. And since people ultimately drive innovation, that means fueling the knowledge pipeline to drive more reliable, energy-efficient, and — in some cases — more autonomous pump systems.

What is Pump Systems Matter?

Established in 2006, PSM was originally developed to meet the needs of utilities, pump owners, and manufacturers in providing education and best practices for pump system optimization. Prior to PSM, utilities had programs where optimization projects could be incentivized but lacked neutral and authoritative training for their customers that educated them on the fundamentals and opportunities. To meet this need, PSM was designed to help pump systems users gain a more competitive business advantage through purchase decisions based on strategic, broad-based energy management and optimization factors. This works on two fronts: providing high-level education on pump systems and validating expertise. 

On the education front, PSM coursework is intended to be accessible at every level, so professionals with different backgrounds can improve their understanding of pumps and pump systems. As a result, this coursework centers on transitioning purchase decision-making from a focus on upfront cost to a focus on life cycle costs and systems optimization concepts. These factors account for energy, maintenance, and other potential costs of operating a pumping system. 

Fostering Expertise and Professional Growth

Additionally, PSM helps the industry to meet a need for certified professionals who can evaluate these systems. The initiative provides the educational foundations for HI’s Pump System Assessment Professional (PSAP) certification program which qualifies experts to perform the necessary evaluations that lead to pump system optimization. 

For individuals that want to gauge if they may be ready to become PSAP certified, an online pre-exam to measure their proficiency is available. Though the PSM coursework is not necessary to take the PSAP exam, even experienced pump professionals can gain valuable insights and preparation through the PSM coursework. Like many sectors, PSM offers continuing education opportunities that help long-time professionals stay current. Since, PSAP-certified individuals are required to renew their certification by taking the exam every three years, it is a good practice to revisit the educational content to stay up-to-date on new standards and best practices. 

The Initiative in Action

An important application for PSM resources is in the education of municipal operators and engineers servicing water systems. Recently, HI worked directly with the state of Pennsylvania to implement PSM training. The state-sponsored the coursework for water and wastewater operators throughout several municipalities, expanding the well of knowledgeable professionals prepared to identify and implement solutions that can improve the energy efficiency and lifetime cost savings of pump systems.

Forging a Better-Informed and Better-Connected Industry

A notable byproduct of PSM has been the resulting opportunities to create a tighter industry network that is more aware of skill-building resources at their disposal. Whether the PSM participants hail from private companies or municipal workforces, they gain a window into a whole community of professionals with whom they can share insights. Participants can also gain a path to other critical resources, including the recently available HI engineering data library, a comprehensive guide for pump users, manufacturers, and engineers to reference up-to-date pump principles, calculations, and unit conversions. These aspects of education will continue to be critical in developing the next generation in creating and implementing the next generation of pumping systems. For more information, visit