Waterwatch© Water Audit Fact Sheet

Waterwatch© is a residential water uses analysis program that was developed by conservation program consultant, Mick Fiato. Mike Lints, Sc.D. created the engineering model, mathematical algorithms and computer code.

The method - conditional demand analysis - is an econometric modeling technique that uses regression (OLS) techniques to break down total household water usage into its constituent parts, each associated with a particular water end use or appliance. We have found that conditional demand analysis is a much better predictor than engineering estimates, which are a starting point, but do not take into consideration behavior and attitudes. 

Features

  •  It provides "bottom up" customer data for rate cases and due diligence purposes.

  • It is a means to provide customer education and household-specific information on water use and conservation opportunities.

  • It can isolate and report on common problems, such as water wasted by leakage.

  • It is an effective way to encourage water-conserving behavior and a comprehensive and accurate tool for measuring residential water use.

  • The survey form and customer report are modular and can be modified to meet the needs of the water supplier.

Benefits

  • It can help mitigate ratepayer concern about issues such as rate increases and high water/sewer bills.

  • It can be a source of primary water use data - on appliance saturation and customer behavior - that can be very valuable to forecasters and planners.

  • It is much less expensive than on-site water audits, enabling the water supplier to offer the service to many more customers.

Applications

  • As a data source (demographic, behavioral, end-uses) for PE, P3 and acquisitions due diligence.

  • As a "stand-alone" conservation program, designed to change customer behavior.

  • As a tool to qualify customer eligibility and enroll the customer in conservation incentive programs and other offerings.

  • As a tool to benchmark customer water uses and measure change over time.

  • As a customer service program to help resolve high bill complaints.

  • As a management tool for delinquent accounts and arrearages, by showing customers ways to reduce water consumption.

How Does This Water Audit Program Work?

Waterwatch© is a water audit that performs a regression analysis of the daily water usage and historic climate data. The program uses proprietary engineering algorithms to construct a statistically valid model of seasonal usage and apportioned end-uses based upon the lifestyle and appliance use data obtained from the customer survey. Where did the water bill disaggregation concept originate?

Prior to Waterwatch©, Fiato and Lints created a very successful, residential energy bill disaggregation program for a company that is now a division of Honeywell. Energy bill analysis is widely accepted by electric and gas utilities as an education and conservation program. Several hundred thousand energy bill analyses are performed each year. The developers of Waterwatch applied similar regression analysis methodology to water use analysis. However, the Waterwatchprogram employs proprietary algorithms and databases that a specific to household water usage.

How Does This Program Assign Water Use Values?

The model is built upon two sources. The first source is from tens of thousands of surveys conducted by Pencilbrook. The second source is a database comprised of water use studies conducted in the US over the past 25 years.

The Waterwatch© development team gathered water/wastewater studies from a variety of sources including: universities, government, water industry trade and professional organizations and environmental groups. Where available, regional or local utility water use databases can be utilized to tailor the program results more closely to the water use patterns of a particular location.

How Accurate is the Customer Report Information?

The program will accurately model usage for most customers. Because it is designed for low cost and mass application, there will be some deviation on the high and low end of the scale. However, short of submetering and monitoring actual usage of a household, we believe there is no more accurate method to estimate end-use by individual households.