In March of this year we made the announcement that we had cumulatively saved one billion gallons of water. That was nearly 4 years to the day from the launch of our first utility customer in Cotati, California. This was a momentous occasion for WaterSmart and represented further validation of our business model, as well as an affirmation of our mission to change the way the world uses water.
Now, just a short 8 months later, we can hardly believe that we recently passed our second billion gallons of water saved. Not only have our utility partners and their customers saved a lot of water, but they’ve also saved nearly $13,000,000 as well as avoided 20,000 tons of Co2 emissions from the energy used to heat and transport that water. We are witnessing our mission in action.
So, what does two billion gallons mean? A one followed by nine zeros starts to feel pretty abstract if there’s no way to relate it to every day activities. In order to make this achievement more concrete, we came up with a visual way to represent this milestone. We thought of creative comparisons for comparable water volumes and then illustrated the results in a new infographic.
So what does 2 billion gallons of water look like?
- The average golf course uses over 82,000 gallons of water for irrigation each day. That is the equivalent of 15,372 golf courses.
- A typical bathtub holds about 50 gallons (even more if you fill it to the brim). This is equivalent to nearly 40,000,000 bathtubs filled with water.
- A standard single-family home in the United States consumes about 300 gallons of water each day. 2 billion gallons is the amount of water consumed by 20,000 households over the course of an entire year.
- The giant man-made lake that fronts the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada is 5 acres in size and holds 22,000,000 gallons of water (all recycled, by the way). That is the equivalent of 91 Bellagio fountains.
- The typical human body is comprised of roughly 70% water. If the average human weighs 150 lbs that is over 100 lbs of water per person. At 8.4 lbs per gallon of water, each person is made up of nearly 12 gallons of water. So 2 billion gallons is the equivalent of over 180,000,000 human beings. This is more people than the country of Bangladesh and slightly fewer than Nigeria.
While these might be interesting factoids on their own, the bigger message is that this is both a whole lot of water and water is incredibly valuable to us in many ways that we don’t commonly consider.
One tactic to help change the way people use water is to educate people on the value of water. We tend to take water for granted, and this makes it very difficult for the water industry to charge us for the full cost of procuring, treating, and delivering water to our homes and business. If we all can better understand where water comes from, what it takes to deliver to us, and what happens to it after we are done using it, we can build a greater appreciation for our most precious resource and collectively begin to make the investments needed to secure our water security for future generations.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that we’re not resting on our laurels. Given our geometric rate of savings growth we expect we’ll reach our 3 billionth gallon saved early in 2016. We also continue to invest in our customer engagement platform to accelerate this rate of change and recently launched some exciting new capabilities:
- We announced the ability to ingest data from all class of water users, whether they be commercial, industrial, irrigation, multi-family, or any other type of meter served by a given water utility.
- We introduced a new type of engagement communication for non single-family residential customers to allow utility partners to convey important program and operational information to every customer they serve.
- End-users who manage multiple properties or facilities can now view all their consumption information in a single interface in our customer portal and perform comparative analysis of which units will benefit the most from efficiency investments.
- All of our Utility Analytics Dashboard modules now offer multi-meter class reports, easing the work required for our partners to identify usage trends, target various customer segments, and improve overall operational efficiency.
These and other pending platform enhancements not only improve our ability to more rapidly increase overall water savings levels, but to also offer customer engagement benefits to utilities that are dealing with other challenges. Our partners have asked us to help them communicate about low-income assistance programs, storm-water management solutions, water quality communications, outage notifications, infrastructure investments, and many other topics of interest to the utility and the communities that they serve.
By continuing to use data to inform water utility operations and better communicate with and engage end-users is what we are passionate about, and we can’t wait to write the next in this series of milestone blog posts about our 3rd, 4th, and 5th billion gallons saved. We will be also adding some other exciting milestone metrics to commemorate, and we look forward to you joining us in the celebration.