Using Data to Establish a Baseline of Water Use

Amy Hou  |  December 7, 2017   |  Energy & Sustainability  


The cost of water use is rising dramatically, up 48 percent since 2010. This rise in costs is related to not only water scarcity, but also legally required improvements to municipal water infrastructure.

In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that, while the cumulative cost of aging water and sewer infrastructure to households will add up to $59 billion by 2020, the cost of water to businesses will exceed $147 billion. This is leaving industries across the board with a troubling issue: less water is available, driving costs up.

Enterprises that want to reduce their use of water will find that it is easier to implement reduction efforts with a reliable and automated water data service. A standardized feed of water data can help across the whole life cycle of water efficiency: establishing a baseline of current usage, tracking progress towards long-term reduction goals, and publishing periodic announcements about progress to these goals.

Enterprises that want to reduce their use of water will find that it is easier to implement reduction efforts with a reliable and automated water data service.

To establish an effective baseline of water use, the task requires collecting historical usage data from all site locations over at least a few years. Rather than manually documenting all this information from a pile of paper or PDF utility bills, a water data service aggregates all the water billing data into a single electronic feed that is easily integrated into existing business processes and systems. Having the data in an electronic format also allows for standardization across facilities, vastly simplifying comparisons of water use and cost to other business metrics, like number of employees, office square footage, or units of production.

Image showing increasing cost of water use

Many large organizations set top-down reduction targets as a means to reduce costs, without realizing that the time and effort required to establish these targets can be significantly reduced with an automated feed of water billing data. Such a data service provides a verified foundation of previous performance on which to base realistic reduction targets.

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Additionally, with a water data service, new bills are automatically delivered as soon as they are posted by the utility, rather than waiting for each bill to arrive at the end of the month. As such, a water data service is able to streamline the ongoing tracking of performance against targets. Stakeholders and employees can monitor the current status on reduction goals in real time. In turn, the instant gratification of seeing quantified results incentivizes faster progress toward water efficiency targets.

Establishing a reliable baseline of water usage is a foundational first step to the long-term target of water resource sustainability. However, many organizations are hindering their own progress from the very start by using an outdated data collection process. Only once they have reliable, timely, and comprehensive water data to work with can they move beyond the baseline and progress toward their goals.

Want to learn more about how an automated water data service can help your business? Talk to an Urjanet data expert today.


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About Amy Hou

Amy Hou is a Marketing Manager at Urjanet, overseeing content and communications. She enjoys writing about the latest industry updates in sustainability, energy efficiency, and data innovation.

Tags   Cost & Resource Reduction   |   Reporting & Benchmarking   |   Sustainability   |   Urjanet   |   Water   |