H2O Counts: Strategic Conservation Planning

Jeremy Rice

H20 Counts  is a Freese and Nichols initiative to identify, monitor and disseminate information related to water conservation efforts within Texas and other states.

As Water Resource Planners, we are continuously looking for ways to conserve water before investing in expensive water supply projects. We do this through data analysis, informing data driven decisions and data tracking before and after program implementation.

  • Data analysis – “You cannot understand what you cannot measure.” H20 counts focuses on identifying trends in water use such as temporal use, geographic use, linear regression models and other data tools to define the 5 W’s of water use (Who, What, When Where, Why)
  • Decision-Support – Once the data analysis is complete the utility can begin designing a suite of conservation measures to be implemented.
  • Data Tracking – Developing a process that once the conservation measures have been implemented the cost and savings can be tracked.

Each of the data items above will help you as a manager to develop reasonable regulations, incentive programs and public outreach.

  • Reasonable Regulation – If you implemented watering restrictions did they work? How well did they work? How much water did they save? Answering these questions will help determine what regulations are needed in your plan update.
  • Incentives – Once the data analysis is complete the utility can begin designing incentive programs based on cost effectiveness and savings data.
  • Public Outreach – Without public support and buy-in, no conservation program can be successful. Public outreach includes educating the public using sound data, seeking their input and asking for their buy-in.

In other news, the Water Conservation Plans and Drought Contingency Plans revisions are required to be submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas Water Development Board by May 1, 2019. Now is the time to start reviewing your current plans and thinking strategically about your next plan.