Advance Water Equity
Sustainably align system operation with stakeholder policy objectives
For a majority of the world, water rates are increasing rapidly to keep pace with the need for continued investment in water systems. These rate increases routinely outpace the rate of local inflation, and economically disadvantaged populations and families on fixed incomes can struggle with the affordability of water and wastewater services. Given that many water utilities are either directly supervised by local governments or are contracted to them, the affordability of water services, and the equitable distribution of cost recovery across various segments of the population, are critical policy issues for utility leaders.
The Power of Decision Intelligence delivers new standards of best practice that combine modeling, data analytics, modern communications, intelligent hardware, and an “open architecture for affordability” to address the water equity challenge in a systematic way. Decision intelligence tools can reduce regressive cross-subsidization, bill shocks, and service suspensions in an economically viable way that supports all members of the community.
Taken together, the following approaches enable a powerful, cost-effective strategy for water equity with significant operational, financial and community benefits.
Modern tools include:
- Apparent loss reduction utilizing advanced data analytics enables utilities to identify meters in the network that are contributing significantly to revenue loss through under- registration.
- Bill shock reduction is enabled by decision intelligence applications that can identify leaks on the customer side of the meter, empowering customers to respond quickly before costs mount to unaffordable levels.
- Service management is facilitated by data analytics, remote shut off meters, and customer service applications to enable better customer engagement, lower field costs, and more effective account management.
- Reduction in service suspensions is enabled by data-driven tools that can identify clients who are in danger of non-payment and target communications and other interventions (e.g. reminders, information about community assistance programs) to support on-time payment.
- Remote flow reduction tools enable utilities to reduce flow through a remotely actuated valve for customers who do not pay on time, ensuring these customers are able to meet essential needs while creating an incentive to pay to eliminate the inconvenience of reduced flow. This also avoids the costs and risks associated with onsite service suspensions.
Real World Success Stories
Driven to improve operational efficiencies without raising rates, Clayton County, GA embraced a data-driven approach to quantify their water balance and gain a better understanding of apparent losses.
After becoming concerned with ongoing apparent water loss, an Orange County, CA utility used cloud-based analytics to identify meter and data handling inaccuracies and stop revenue loss.