Information is power. We all know this is especially true when it comes to water resource management. Here at Water Efficiency, we’ve focused a lot on the importance of data integration and the value of reliable and accurate water use statistics. Whether it’s AMR and AMI, GIS and SCADA, or a combination of all the different tools available to the water purveyor, the bottom line is that you “can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
So what happens when you’ve got the facts and figures, but the information is not as accurate or extensive as you need?
That’s the current situation in New Zealand, where a new report released by Environment Canterbury indicates that current water measuring systems are either inadequate or improperly installed.
“We need good quality data on water use in order to better manage and allocate the huge freshwater resource we have in Canterbury,” says Environment Canterbury’s Commissioner David Caygill.
The Canterbury Water Use Report highlights that only one third of the region’s 7,022 groundwater wells are equipped with water measurement devises, while less than 20% of the area’s surface water is being adequately measured.
“Only 801 wells—or 11.4%—had reliable records from the last 250 days,” states the report.
Stateside, accurate and reliable water use data is definitely a concern, but as measurement devices become more prolific—and more accurate—there’s bound to be a backlash (http://www.smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/Technologies_Metering/Smart-meter-backlash-Nevada-consumers-claim-nefarious-conspiracies-4564.html).
Water is a commodity, but it’s also a necessity—and at times the need to fund water collection, treatment, and delivery can overcome the users who are charged for the service. And as it becomes possible to monitor each drop and charge for each gallon, it’s inevitable that customers will begin to fear (and suspect) their water bill.
Interactive billing software (that allows customers to log on and track their own usage) and increased public awareness campaigns can do a lot to lessen the pain of higher water rates, but even while those of us in the industry can clearly see the need for accurate, reliable, and easily accessible data, we must remember that it’s not so cut and dry to the folks turning the faucets and writing the checks.
So what do you think? How can communities in the US obtain accurate and reliable water use data, particularly when many areas lack the funds or the infrastructure to facilitate implementation of smart data systems? Are we doing enough to inform the public about the need for accurate water use measurement? And can information about water use—and abuse—be enough on its own to inspire changes in behavior and increase conservation efforts?
Upcoming Forester University Webinars
April 5th, 2012
for Surface Water Quality (new date added)
Constantly influenced by natural eutrophication, direct human impact, and a changing climate, surface water is a scarce natural resource needing effective protection. Join Shahram (Shane) Missaghi to explore the function and benefits of BMPs in protecting surface water, and examine three key criteria to insure their successful implementation: water, soil, and climate Read more...
April 12th, 2012
Water Auditing 101
Reduce your water waste and cost! Join Troy Aichele, LEED AP (O+M) of Aichele and Associates LLC to explore the key attributes, uses, and efficiency/cost opportunities of water audits. Aichele will lead a discussion of what a water audit includes, who performs the audit, where and when they should and can be performed, and the opportunities that exist in performing a water audit. Join us and gain an understanding of the potential savings possible, rebates available, and how quickly this unobtrusive work can be implemented from audit to installation to optimize your water use and minimize your cost. Read more...
April 18th, - May 25th, 2012
Sediment and Erosion Control
Master Class Series
Join industry expert and bestselling author Jerald S. Fifield, Ph.D., CISEC, CPESC and Tina R. Evans, PE, CISEC for a comprehensive 6-part online master class and workshop series (0.9 CEUs / 9 PDHs) exploring the ins and outs of effective sediment and erosion control plan design and review based on Fifield’s recently released 3rd edition of the bestselling manual Designing and Reviewing Effective Sediment and Erosion Control Plans (included in your Master Class Series package).
April 26 th, 2012
BMP Nutrient Sources and Transformations -
How to Optimize Nutrient Removal in SCMs
Are your Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs) effectively removing nitrogen and phosphorus from runoff? Join Bill Lucas to explore how to select and design SCMs to improve nitrogen and phosphorus retention. After an overview of nitrogen and phosphorous forms, sources, and transformations, Lucas will discuss how nitrogen and phosphorus transformations can be optimized in SCMs; how to select and design SCMs for settings; and how to tailor these programs to meet TMDL requirements more cost effectively.