Did you know? The average American uses 17.2 gallons of water every time they shower — and that’s only a small portion of a person’s day. Can you imagine an entire day where you couldn’t use water at all?
The “Imagine A Day Without Water” campaign aims to educate people about the value of water through an annual awareness day, which is on October 23 this year. We’ve covered the event in the past, notably around the imbalance between the cost and perceived value of water and how technology can better tell the story of water. In preparation for this year’s event, we will again focus on tech, as we believe that’s where the water industry is — and should be — headed.
If you’re interested in participating in Imagine A Day Without Water, here are five ways to get involved; or you can use the hashtag between now and October 23 on social media: #ValueWater. So far, one of the better tweets we’ve seen using the hashtag is this student art contest from Charlottesville Public Works.
Expectations need to be met with data and technology
While water is essential to human existence, many simply take it for granted. That’s one of the main reasons Imagine A Day Without Water even took off as a campaign initially.
You could chalk it up to a psychological concept called “inter-temporal discounting.” Think of it like this. Even if you absolutely believe news headlines about water shortages, droughts, and aquifer issues, the fact is, most times, when someone in the first world turns on their faucet or shower, water comes out. So, you think to yourself, “Oh, it’s not that big a problem.” This is some of the same reasoning around climate change. Pumpkin spice lattes and sweaters come back every year, so people think, “Oh, it’s not that big a problem.”
The gap between perception and reality on the consumer side, which we mentioned above, is unfortunately not the only gap in utilities. That’s where technology comes in to help. Effective water technology makes data more transparent to the customers, so they can see more about their water usage and what it all means. Technology breaks down some of the barriers we’ve seen in terms of customer relationships.
Another important aspect of technology in the water discussion is what tech has broadly done to society. Through increased technology, we’ve created an “on-demand economy.” Amazon is a prime example of this. At base, people expect information, ideas, and products to be easily in front of them when they need it. (On a related note, what if you had to wait for water?)
Water and utilities have been slower adopters of the rise in technology use, but we are getting there. The more information we put in front of customers, and the more easily accessible that information is, the better off we are. Will more transparent data set utility companies free? Over time, yes. At the very least, data and technology will make utilities more relevant to customers and get them thinking more about water usage. Imagine A Day Without Water is but one campaign in that arc.
We’re honored to be part of the technology and water value chain, and we take our role in that very seriously — as data providers, educators, thought leaders, industry leaders, and more. We invite you to #ValueWater not only on October 23, but every other day as well. Water provides, and we want to make sure it continues to do so — and that you know, and consistently think about, its true value.