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10 Years of WaterSmart in Review

By Ali Barsamian

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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 4 million accounts and 13 million end customers 
  3. 12.4 million Water Reports delivered
  4. 11.4 billion gallons of water saved  
  5. 4 million leaks detected 
  6. 1.2 million automated alerts sent to end-use customers by email, automated voice, and SMS text message
  7. 2.5 million Group Messages sent covering a wide variety of topics  
  8. Zero failed implementations
  9. Hosted 28 WaterSide Chats featuring industry experts 
  10. Exhibited at over 30 conferences around the country

Some current and former members of the WaterSmart team also took this time to reflect and share favorite memories and their takeaways:

"Over the last decade we've witnessed changes in climate, technology, financial debt, equal opportunity, and most importantly concerns about our environment. The team at WaterSmart is proud to lead, support, address, and innovate technologies not only to help water conservation but to partner with water utilities in educating their communities on better ways to use and protect our most valuable resource on the planet: water.  We will continue on with that mission for the next 10 years." – Kevin Kern, CEO
 
"Back in 2009 WaterSmart put in motion what can only be described as a veritable tidal wave. We wanted to change the way the world uses water, so we designed a way to better communicate information about water consumption to households and water utilities. After ten years of watching this company grow, I couldn’t be more proud of all our accomplishments and for what the future holds for WaterSmart." – Peter Yolles, Founder
 
"My very first memory of WaterSmart was going on-site to visit Damien O'Bid at the City of Cotati, California. Afterwards, I sat with our founder, Peter, and we sketched out the very first Home Water Report. I have had the good fortune of working with many other staff at many other utilities since then, and I remain very impressed by their dedication to serving customers patiently and professionally. It is a privilege to work in the water industry, helping our colleagues and their customers save time, water and money.  I look forward to the next decade of success." – Ora Chaiken, SVP of Customer Success
 
"One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about working at WaterSmart over the last four and a half years is hearing from more and more Utility Partners about how we’ve helped them to solve real business problems. It’s been truly rewarding to listen to our partners describe how our platform has actually saved staff time, customer headaches, and water. I look forward to more innovation and beneficial outcomes for water utilities, their customers, and the environment in 2020!" – Michelle Camp, Regional Sales Director
 
"Coming at the forefront of the IOT revolution, WaterSmart has been part of the modernization and maturation of the water industry with a more interactive and responsive data-driven paradigm.  My personal favorite memories are all the food and baking contests held at the office!" – Yuhong Wang, Senior Software Engineer
 
"It is hard to think back on the past ten years and not immediately think about all of the great parties we have had, especially the ones we hosted at WSI in Las Vegas that I would bar tend. I am so proud of all that we have accomplished and our ability to continually innovate and build powerful solutions for our utility partners. Stay tuned for what's coming next, it will only continue to get better!" – Chad Haynes, SVP of Engineering
 
"WaterSmart has had the uncanny ability to mirror the ever changing needs of the utility and the end use customer and it has been a joy to be a part of. As drought struck the southwestern US, WaterSmart responded by implementing quantifiably successful conservation programs. As customers turned towards digital preferences, WaterSmart pivoted to multi-channel communication pathways with customers – with engagement rates above 80%. As a constant in this sea of change, WaterSmart’s goal remained true: to provide superior customer service." – Nick Trowbridge, Account Manager
 
"If I had to point to one consistent thread throughout WaterSmart’s 10 year journey, it is a large number of innovative and forward-thinking utilities who share their ideas about how to improve utility operations, manage water more wisely, and improve the customer experience. Our job at WaterSmart is to listen well, build great software and services, and help our utility partners be more successful. It is rare to find such a collaborative team that is so dedicated to changing the way the world uses water.” – Erik Andersen, SVP of Sales
 
"I knew Peter for years and decided to join WaterSmart when the company began an expansion into data analytics and customer engagement. It’s been such a pleasure to work with this funny, fun, supportive crackerjack smart team that cares for each other, and almost always says “yes”, with an occasional Karaoke or dance performance thrown in. Equally exciting has been watching our utility customers change how they do their work, make decisions and communicate with their customers as our platform expanded. I’ve spent my entire career in the water utility world and am so proud to be part of a team that is making a dent in improving how we manage water. To many more years ahead!" – Dana Haasz, Senior Director, Customer Support
 
"As our list of utility partners has grown over the past five years, it has been really fascinating to dig into the data and surface insights that both drive our product development and identify valuable insights for utility management best practices. I have also loved all of the antics that go down in our office (planking, eating competitions, music Fridays). And no one will ever forget the great dogs that have called the office a home away from home: Banjo, Whiskey, Yuki, and Bella." – Will Holleran, Data Scientist
 
"WaterSmart was one of the first organizations to recognize the critical importance of customer engagement in the water industry. It may seem quaint or obvious now, but in 2009, no one was really considering the political consequences of disengaged rate payers. The notion of behavioral water efficiency as a practical resource management strategy has become commonplace. It's hard to imagine that happening if it weren't for WaterSmart" – Jeff Lipton, WaterSmart Alumni
 
"It was amazing to be introducing agencies to a completely new way of communication with their customers. In the earliest years, I would have meetings with a lone customer service specialist who could see the vision of meeting customers digitally.  Then a few years later she would finally get her manager in the room who would act like it was his idea all along and want to begin writing an RFP. The process was slow, but you can definitely feel momentum building with more utilities now." – Brett Foreman, WaterSmart Alumni
 
TO THE FUTURE! 
As this decade comes to a close, we continue to be excited about our role in the digital transformation of water utilities and in helping our utility partners gain access to deeper data analytics and provide additional value to their end-use customers. We look forward to an even more ambitious, innovative, and fun 2020!
 

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