2021: A Year of Helping Water Utilities “See the Unseeable”
The book closing on another year is always a good time for reflection. In an eventful 2021, the talented team at Aquify brought unprecedented system visibility and insights to the water utilities by leveraging both technology and human intelligence.
We have been guided all along by the understanding that technology is only useful if it provides a return value that is greater than the investment. The last thing water utilities need right now is another expenditure.
So, let’s focus on the return that data, analytics and insight brought in 2021.
Reducing Non-Revenue Water Through Leak Detection
In 2021, we conservatively estimate that our client utilities saved 300 million gallons of water that would have been wasted, but for the data and analytics provided by the Aquify team. Aquify data and analytics discovered leaks in an abandoned building, in little-used office parks, and remote wooded areas. Small leaks that are undetected have a huge impact.
The resulting 2021 financial savings for utilities (factoring in each’s cost of water) was $1.6 million, which is more than 5X the cost for the Aquify service subscription.
But reducing non-revenue water is only the beginning.
Better Intelligence Leads to Better Decision-Making
Less quantifiable, but no less important, is the access to operational intelligence that sensors, data and analytics provide.
We know that managing a water utility is as much an art as it is a science. Water managers make a lot of decisions, and those decisions have big impacts. The task of asset management itself is really just a series of complicated decisions. When armed with data-driven insights, water managers can make better decisions in both planning and operations.
When utility manager’s see flow and pressure data in real-time, 24/365, they gain an almost intuitive sense about the state of their water system. Patterns develop. Ideas generate.
At one utility in 2021, Aquify data inspired the municipality improve how it conducts its hydrant flushing when they saw how intense pressure fluctuations can cause breaks. At another, Aquify identified bulk metering errors allowing municipalities to negotiate an informed adjustment. We’ve identified inadvertent open interconnections to neighboring systems and identified a valve that remained closed after repair work. We helped find a frozen pressure transducer valve in a storage system and even identified an increase in Chlorine residual levels.
These individual stories filled our 2021. We’ve captured many in our case studies section.
As the calendar turns, we can remind ourselves that this work of America’s local water utilities – to provide clean, safe, reliable drinking water – is among the most important civic responsibilities and pillars of our way-of-life. We are increasingly reminded, by events and trends, about what a precious commodity water really is. The stewards of our water resources (water utility managers across the country) have an immensely important role in the operation of our society, and we are grateful to know some of the best and most forward-thinking of them.
In 2022, Aquify will continue to expand the value we deliver to water utilities. We will continue advocating for the strategic investment in smart-tech as an important tool to confront the challenges and opportunities in today’s water industry. We love the work we do. And it’s important.
Best wishes for the New Year.