Pilot Project Allows Customers to Take Control of Their Household Water Usage
HONOLULU – The Board of Water Supply (BWS) is offering about 38,000 Oahu customers in Mililani, Kapolei, Waipahu, Kailua, Aina Haina/Waialae, and Hawaii Kai the opportunity to learn how their water use compares with similar neighboring households through a pilot program called WaterSmart. The pilot is being co-funded by Energy Excelerator, a Hawaii-based accelerator program customized for energy and water startups.
The WaterSmart platform, which is deployed in more than 50 cities across the country, provides detailed online and mobile water consumption data for each participating customer. WaterSmart also provides a regular Water Report that compares the customer’s water use with similar users and recommends personalized measures to improve water-use efficiency. Customers receiving Water Reports and access to the companion website and mobile application have proven to have a better understanding of their water use, higher satisfaction with their water utility, and are more likely to use water efficiently. BWS customers can also sign up for high consumption alerts or other communications from BWS.
“We expect that the useful information from WaterSmart will empower our customers to take control of how they use water and reduce their overall consumption,” said BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau. “This program helps the BWS to ensure a sustainable water supply by promoting water conservation, a key objective in our recently adopted Water Master Plan. WaterSmart also provides us with new ways to interact with our customers.”
The BWS will mail letters to residential and non-residential customers in the selected communities to introduce them to WaterSmart, describe the benefits of participation, and ask them to activate their account to enable access to a website with details of their past water use, recommendations to use water efficiently, and the online Water Report.
“Hawaii is entirely dependent on regular rainfall for its water supply, and ongoing population growth and climate variability have put the state’s water supplies under stress,” said Robin Gilthorpe, Chief Executive Officer at WaterSmart. “We are excited to be working closely with the BWS to educate their customers on the value of water services, and ensure a resilient and reliable water supply for the foreseeable future.”
Residential customers in the selected areas (Mililani, Kapolei, Waipahu, Kailua, Aina Haina/Waialae, and Hawaii Kai) will also be asked to take an online water usage survey. Responses from each survey are used to provide water-saving tips and messages customized for that particular household’s water usage. Implementing these tips has been shown to decrease water usage 2-5% over time.
“In 2008, when the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative was passed, funding was set aside for innovation. At that time, we realized that Hawaii could not reach its aggressive clean energy goals with existing technology. The story is similar for our water system. New and innovative technologies and ways of thinking can help us preserve a very precious resource,” says Jill Sims, Co-founder of Energy Excelerator. Funding to support Energy Excelerator’s water track comes from the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF). HCF is spearheading the Hawaii Fresh Water Initiative, which sets a goal of creating 100 million gallons per day in additional, reliable fresh water capacity for our islands by 2030.
At the end of the pilot, the BWS will evaluate the program’s effectiveness and determine whether or not it should be rolled out to the rest of its 170,000 customers.
The Board of Water Supply (BWS), a semi-autonomous agency of the City and County of Honolulu, manages Oahu’s municipal water resources and distribution system. As the largest water utility in the State, the BWS serves approximately one million customers on Oahu. The BWS embraces its mission of “Water for Life – Ka Wai Ola”—to provide a safe, dependable, and affordable water supply, now and into the future. Uwē ka lani, ola ka honua – “When the heavens weep, the earth lives.” For more information about the BWS, visit www.boardofwatersupply.com, follow @BWSHonolulu or like the BWS’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BWSHonolulu.
Energy Excelerator funds innovative startups to create a 100% clean energy future, starting in Hawaii and Asia-Pacific. We invest in energy, water, transportation, agriculture, and cybersecurity companies (up to $1 million per company) and open up a world-class network of investors, customers, and experienced CEOs to help our portfolio companies change the world.
WaterSmart Software provides intelligence beyond the meter to make the lives of water utility managers easier. Water providers using WaterSmart’s cloud-based, customer self-service and engagement platform have been proven to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction by more than 25%. WaterSmart is a winner of the globally coveted World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers Award for their potential to “significantly impact business and society through the design, development and implementation of new technologies and innovation.” Come help us change the way the world uses water.
Ali Barsamian, WaterSmart Software – (415-366-8622 x 819): firstname.lastname@example.org