The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD) faced a significant challenge during a recent drought when their water supply was drastically reduced by 74%. Despite initial attempts at conservation messaging and pricing incentives, the results were insufficient. This case study explores how LVMWD implemented a successful multifaceted approach to water conservation, leveraging both innovative solutions and customer engagement strategies.


The Flow Restrictor Program

Faced with a severe reduction in water supply, LVMWD developed the flow restrictor program to curb excessive water usage. This program involved placing devices in meters to reduce water pressure, making it difficult to overuse water outdoors while still meeting essential indoor needs. Initial messaging about the program led to modest conservation, but it wasn't enough to meet the district's goals.

LVMWD then took a more assertive approach by sending exceedance notices, warning customers of potential flow restrictor installation. Surprisingly, this led to a temporary spike in water usage as customers attempted to avoid restrictions. Ultimately, LVMWD implemented the program for the top 20 water users each month, resulting in significant conservation that exceeded their targets.

VXsmart: Enhancing Customer Engagement

Alongside the flow restrictor program, LVMWD introduced VXsmart, a software platform that allows customers to monitor their daily water usage. Customers who received flow restrictors were required to sign up for VXsmart and actively track their consumption. By tying benefits such as leak adjustments, billing variances, and late fee removals to VXsmart enrollment, LVMWD incentivized customers to take responsibility for their water usage.

Leak Detection and Resolution

A critical component of the VXsmart program was its ability to detect leaks. LVMWD created a new position, Customer Service Program Supervisor, to oversee VXsmart and identify high water users. This supervisor conducted field visits to help customers locate and fix leaks, which often went unnoticed underground. VXsmart notifications proved invaluable in identifying leaks before they caused significant water waste.

Program Results and Benefits

The combined efforts of the flow restrictor program and VXsmart led to remarkable outcomes:

  • Significant water conservation, exceeding LVMWD's goals.
  • Increased customer awareness and engagement with their water usage.
  • Improved communication between residents, property managers, and the water district.
  • Financial savings for customers through leak detection and reduced water usage.


LVMWD's innovative water conservation strategy during a critical drought period demonstrates the effectiveness of a multifaceted approach. By combining technological solutions like VXsmart with proactive customer engagement and innovative programs like flow restrictors, LVMWD achieved significant water savings and enhanced community collaboration. This case study offers valuable insights for other water districts facing similar challenges, showcasing the potential for innovative strategies to drive meaningful conservation outcomes.


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