By Frank Kinder
Demand Side Management (DSM) has become an important component of water supply for water providers. DSM practices are initiatives that help water users manage their consumption. They include incentives, rebates, retrofits, outreach, education, audits and other tools.
These efforts help water utilities better understand, predict and plan for overall water demand and supply. As DSM practices progress, technology capabilities are being developed to help water suppliers understand their data, implement efficiency projects, and target customers. DSM tools offer both long-term water supply contributions and enhanced customer engagement.
Through engagement, DSM allows water providers to offer customers information about water use and tools to manage it. Education builds water fluency by sharing more information about water scarcity, sources, common uses, and averages. This equips customers with direct opportunities for commodity management so they can use that data to make informed decisions, change behavior or replace fixtures. Utilities benefit by having customers that are more informed about their water use while learning about immediate ways to change their consumption, while customers benefit by understanding their role in utility management and having ownership over their usage. These aspects are useful to both parties for ongoing communication about issues of water.
As software capabilities have improved, many utilities use data analytics to dissect demand patterns and pursue participation in efficiency. Customer segmentation, social norming, and personalized reports are common elements of these programs. This complex work is either done in-house or through partnership with software vendors. Many solutions exist to assist utilities with this effort.
To see examples of how this concept is implemented in some Front Range communities, San Francisco-based WaterSmart Software will be giving a free Lunch’ n Learn on Friday June 10th on the “Next Generation of Data Driven Demand Management for Rocky Mountain Utilities.” Colorado WaterWise is hosting this event and lunch is provided. Go here to register: http://coloradowaterwise.org/event-2251626
Interested in water conservation? Stay posted, the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Conservation will be available in just a couple short weeks—preorder your copy today.