Thoughts

A place for education, information, and insights about the water industry.

Topics: rate increases

3 Ways Self-Service Payment Tools Combat Rising Water Rates

April 1, 2020
| By Chad Galloway

When it comes to collecting payments and maintaining stable revenue, water utility companies face many challenges. One of the most pressing of these challenges is the issue of ever-increasing water rates due to aging water infrastructures and rising treatment costs across the country. In fact, a 2017 research study from Michigan State University shows that water rates have increased by 41% since 2010. If rates continue to rise at this rate over the course of the next 5 years, it’s estimated that over 40 million households in the U.S. won’t be able to afford water. 

This issue of affordability is one that looms large for the majority of water utility companies. When water rates rise drastically, utilities see delayed payments and, in some cases, customers are unable to pay bills at all. Since the utility is responsible for the costs associated with maintaining and treating water regardless of the revenue they collect, this leads

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Topics: Did you know?

WaterSmart Software Response to COVID-19

March 16, 2020
| By Ali Barsamian

Presently, we are in an unprecedented time and each day we are exposed to new information related to the COVID-19 virus.  The confusion and uncertainty surrounding the disease can certainly be unsettling. First and foremost, our thoughts are with those around the world who’ve been impacted by the virus. We are hoping for safety and health for all. Thus far, the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. It is our understanding that standard water treatment methods used for filtering and disinfecting water, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate pathogens causing COVID-19.

At WaterSmart, the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners and communities is a significant concern for us.  We are a technology company, and like many other firms we have taken proactive steps to help minimize the exposure and potential spread of COVID-19, and we are confident in our

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Topics: digital engagement

Navigating the Path to AMI

March 4, 2020
| By Matt Finkle

On February 5th, the American Water Works Association released “AWWA’s Best Practices for AMI System Rollout as learned by the FGUA” exploring the Florida Governmental Utility Authority’s experience transitioning 27,500 manual meters to Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). The article highlights lessons learned from the AMI project and best practices for other utilities to consider. With the analysis largely focusing on the design, construction and operational components of an AMI rollout, there was a gap for additional best practices utilities should incorporate for a successful AMI implementation and to drive long-term value from the investment.

Communicating the value of AMI

Because AMI implementations can take years to complete, it is beneficial to communicate the end-user benefits well in advance to avoid delays and backlash from customers. Utilities must incorporate a proactive customer engagement strategy to support

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Topics: Did you know?

10 Years of WaterSmart in Review

December 31, 2019
| By Ali Barsamian
A decade is long period of time, yet it also seems to pass in the blink of an eye.  As 2020 quickly approaches and the current decade comes to a close, WaterSmart simultaneously celebrated ten years in business. WaterSmart was founded in November of 2009 as the first company in the United States to help water utilities use data analytics and behavioral science to improve water use efficiency and better serve and engage customers. 10 years later, we have worked with scores of utility staff, surveyed hundreds of thousands of end-use customers, attended thousands of conferences, and deployed a continuous stream of new product capabilities. What has come from all that are some fairly fascinating metrics and entertaining stories. 
First, ten metrics to illustrate our impact:
  1. A geographically dispersed user base, spanning over two-thirds of the United States  
  2. The largest market presence with over 140 utility partners representing over
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Topics: Did you know?

Flowing into Fall 2019

September 25, 2019
| By Ali Barsamian
WaterSmart's platform continu es to evolve. P reviously expand ing from water-use efficiency tools to a broad er set of customer engagement systems. Now, WaterSmart has expanded to a more comprehensive approach to support ing utility operations with automated solutions that help utility staff get more done in less time. Below are some highlights of how WaterSmart's Fall 2019 Release streamlines utility operations .  
 
Summer's over, but will irrigation change?
 
To help manage the transition between dry summer to rainy fall, WaterSmart has enhanced our irrigation detection algorithm . T he 'Irrigators Last Week ' report detect s and track s all irrigation within 48 hours of rain events. Group Messenger empowers u tility staff to educate customers about timed irrigation . Messages are even more powerful now with personalization variables that communicate estimated irrigation volume.  
 
Bills, bills, bills
 
 
Money is a top priority for
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Topics: utility culture

The Retirement Wave is Coming: How will you manage?

August 13, 2019
| By Ali Barsamian
Our lives run on water. It is hard to imagine a day without a steady flow and luckily, in America it is rare we have to consider the possibility. For that security, we must be thankful for the hard-working water utility professionals that spend their days ensuring we have continued access to safe and reliable drinking water. These professionals play a vital role in protecting public health. And for this reason, maintaining a consistent and reliable workforce is incredibly crucial. Thus, a substantial wave of impending retirements in an industry facing recruiting challenges should be cause for concern.
 
It is projected that in the next 10 years, 37 percent of the water utility workers will retire . This is a substantial percentage of the workforce needing to be replenished.  As a result, utility senior management must be prepared to do one of two things: do more with less and/or implement programs that will help them to attract and
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