“Water scarcity is an existential threat to all of us. We’re proud of the work we’ve done with our partner Itineris to combat wasteful irrigation practices that lead to depleted aquifers and higher water prices for our customers.”
Leticia Zavala Jones,
Customer Care Director, Georgetown Utility Systems
Georgetown Utility Systems supplies water, wastewater, storm water, electricity, and refuse services to more than 65,000 customers in the city of Georgetown, Texas. The city, located 25 miles north of Austin, adopted Itineris’ UMAX CIS in 2018 and quickly realized a number of billing process efficiencies as a result. But they still had a lingering problem—one shared by many utilities throughout the American South and Southwest: a growing population and a diminishing water supply due to persistent drought conditions.
To lower peak demand, water suppliers like Georgetown maintain drought contingency plans that restrict customer lawn irrigation to specific days of the week. But those drought restrictions only work if everyone adheres to them, and many homeowners with automatic irrigation systems don’t reprogram them to comply. Consequently, Georgetown staff were faced with several time-consuming processes:
- Manually identifying violators
- Drafting and delivering numerous communications
- Continuously answering policy questions
They turned to Itineris once again for a solution.
Itineris’ wrong-day irrigation solution
In partnership with Georgetown, Itineris developed and implemented this solution as a proof-of-concept project, designed to combat wasteful water usage (nearly 80 percent of Georgetown residents’ water usage could be attributed to lawn irrigation during the summer!). Using smart meter data analytics, this solution automatically detects when customers are irrigating on the wrong day and instantly sends policy violation communications to educate them.
If violators do not change their behavior within a given timeframe, violation penalties can be charged automatically by the billing system. If penalties are not enforced, custom messaging can be automatically delivered instead. Either way, the result is a noticeable reduction in wasteful household water usage.
WATER USAGE DURING SUMMER
At the onset of the pilot program, Itineris analyzed nearly 30,000 of Georgetown’s residential smart
meters based on wrong-day irrigation parameters and determined that nearly 40 percent of
citizens in the pilot were not following the restricted watering schedule. The improvements realized
after the implementation of our solution were tremendous in terms of
customer behavioral change, staff time savings, and water conservation.
Our Utility Data Hub technology, upon which this solution is built, is highly flexible.
It can be used for a host of other possible applications in power and water, including: