The Value of Water Coalition is launching a national advocacy campaign today, Wednesday October 21st, called Imagine A Day Without Water. The goal of the campaign is to not only educate people about the value of water, but to drive changes in water use behavior to create more resilient and sustainable water systems for our collective future.
Here at VertexOne, we thought for a long-time about what a day without water might look like, and how we could contribute to the dialogue in a unique manner that is consistent with our mission. For us, it is of utmost importance to educate all consumers on the value of their water. While analyzing the value of water today, it is impossible to ignore its importance regarding the global pandemic that has taken over 2020. Coronavirus has significantly transformed everyday lives thus consequently altering our water consumption.
Few people realize the crucial part water has played in restoring society throughout the pandemic. A smart-water monitoring company recently reported that sink usage has increased by 21%, toilet usage by 20%, and shower usage by 16% since the pandemic started. From a household perspective, the obvious increase in water consumption is a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions. People are now cooking, cleaning, working and socializing at home more than ever. Not only do water utilities play a vital role in supplying this essential service so residents can continue their everyday lives, they are also responsible for making sure residents can continue to afford their water.
Water utility workers are some of the many unsung heroes of today. As water usage rises while the economy weakens, customers struggle to pay their monthly bills. Water utilities can help customers afford their payments by providing tools that give them more control over how much their bill will be. Self-service tools, like usage notifications or leak detection alerts- provide visibility on where to cut back consumption and proactively prevent excess charges. At WaterSmart, we provide water utilities with the latest customer self-service tools and technology to improve satisfaction for both customers and utility staff.
Another significant change in water consumption can be observed from a healthcare perspective. Throughout 2020 we have relied heavily on doctors and hospitals to keep communities healthy. Did you know that the average hospital uses 315 gallons of water per bed, per day? Water has been a primary weapon in preventing the spread of the virus through sanitation and hygiene. Healthcare professionals have emphasized hand-washing and constant disinfection as the key to resilience.
Imagine society trying to navigate through a global pandemic without access to clean water - it’s a scary thought. The reality is that many people still do not have safely managed water sources available at their disposal. Those without access to clean water are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. This framework is the lens under which we began to imagine a day without water. What does this mean to the water utility in terms of operations, and how would this impact our communities while trying to combat COVID-19?
How We Do Our Part
Here at VertexOne, we strive to help utilities educate their customers about the value of their water. We recognize customers are now accustomed to having actionable information at their fingertips. Customers are used to getting updates from their service providers as changes or activities to their accounts take place. VertexOne, through WaterSmart Software, is meeting the modern-day customer's expectations by allowing customers more oversight and control over their bill. We empower them with self-set alerts so they can make the rules of when and how their utility should communicate with them. Customers can set vacation alerts, bill thresholds, usage notifications, and so much more. At the same time, this is strengthening the utility-customer relationship. Customers feel like their water providers are truly on their side and helping them understand and afford their water.
In the end, we must come up with collective solutions to a universal challenge. The act of ‘Imagining a Day Without Water’ is but a first step in raising the level of communal discourse. Our mission is to change the way the world uses water. And, we hope utilities join us in the effort of educating customers on their water usage.
Check out best practices for customer self-service for more information on how our platform and services work to increase communication, affordability, and resilience across the water industry.