Thoughts

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

Topics: social comparison

Top Technology Adoption Trends in the Water Industry

April 16, 2019
| By Jeff Lipton

 

 

As sensor technology becomes more prevalent throughout the water utility industry, the need for software systems to make sense of this flood of data is becoming increasingly critical. Data presentment and business intelligence tools that provide new insights to improve operations may leave utility managers with a broad set of competing priorities. In addition, the adoption and implementation of these new technologies can be both expensive and disruptive to long-standing business processes.

As a software provider to the water utility industry, WaterSmart has a front row seat to these challenges as well as the benefits that new data and communications solutions may offer. We regularly field questions from utilities interested in learning more about the state of ‘Smart’ technology adoption across the industry and whether their utility is keeping up. This led us to initiate a project to learn more about the leading trends related

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Topics: social comparison

Performance WaterMark: How does your utility compare?

April 9, 2019
| By Jeff Lipton
 
In 2009 WaterSmart Software was born around a simple question: Can social comparisons drive an improvement in water-use efficiency? It turns out the answer to that question was decidedly YES! Over the next several years WaterSmart became a pioneer in the practice that is now broadly known as Behavioral Water Efficiency . By providing water customers with information on how their water use compares with similar households along with specific, money saving recommendations on how they can more effectively use water, utilities see an increase in water-use efficiency of up to 5% .
Since that modest start, WaterSmart has expanded its reach to manage the data of more than 4 million customer accounts. In addition, our technology platform has grown to encompass a full suite of customer self-service and engagement capabilities, in addition to our legacy demand management programs.
 
As the complexity of our systems increased, we began
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Topics: Editorial

Drought Shaming vs. Social Comparison – What’s the Difference?

March 14, 2016
| By Cora Kammeyer

The California drought has given way to a prevalent new phenomenon of “drought shaming” – Californians have taken to social media to snitch on each other’s water-wasting habits. If you search #droughtshaming on Twitter, you will find hundreds of people calling out their neighbors for wasting water and posting pictures of the infraction. Some water agencies have even built apps to make it easy for residents to tattle on each other. While this is one approach to raising awareness about water use, I would argue that turning drought into a finger-pointing game is not the right reaction. WaterSmart’s behavioral science approach of using social comparison to encourage conservation has sometimes been conflated with drought shaming; Environmental Leader called it a “shame program” earlier this year.

Drought shaming and social comparison do have some distinctive similarities. Both take advantage of the innate human instinct to fit in with

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