District and Orange County Utilities partner on water savings program

MAITLAND, Fla., Sept. 20, 2016 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is partnering with Orange County Utilities on a project that could realize a 4.9 percent water savings for residential utility customers. The district contributed $112,334 toward the project as part of its cooperative cost-share program.

“Our cost-share program continues to be a valuable tool in fostering local partnerships that deliver projects to protect Florida’s water resources,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This project promotes water conservation which saves groundwater for a more resilient water supply, and results in lower utility bills for customers who conserve water.”

“As a data-driven organization, Orange County Utilities is eager to bring this technology and innovative approach to its customers,” said Jacqueline W. Torbert, manager, Orange County Utilities Water Division. “The customer portal for communication and engagement, combined with data analytics, represents a real opportunity to quantify the effectiveness of our conservation efforts.”

The water-savings project uses a software called WaterSmart to reduce drinkable water consumption across 30,000 households by 4.9 percent, a potential savings of 0.37 million gallons of water a day.

WaterSmart utilizes social norms in conjunction with comprehensive data analytics and targeted messaging to modify water use behavior. Residents receive mobile, print and email reports, which outline each home’s water use in relation to homes of similar size and characteristics.

Orange County Utilities was selected for the 12-month program as part of the district’s cost-share program, which assists in funding projects related to enhancing water conservation efforts as well as developing sustainable water resources and providing flood protection.

For more information about the district’s cost-share program, visit www.sjrwmd.com/funding.