Most water utility managers don’t classify public outreach as an integral part of utility management. But, that’s an “unfortunate attitude because experience clearly demonstrates the value of devoting public outreach resources on major issues and projects early on instead of after the fact.”
Even in “water-rich” Canada, many jurisdictions are having trouble providing adequate, clean fresh water as their populations not only grow, but also exhibit higher expectations for water availability and water safety. The conventional approach to such problems accepted the history of constantly growing demand for water and responded by extending pipelines, constructing more dams and drilling deeper.
Water is an important input for many industrial sectors including manufacturing, mining, and energy generation. Industrial water use differs from other sectors in its high reliance on self-supplied water, the potential for internal water recycling and the possibility of use leading to diminished water quality.
This article presents the main policy research issues related to the application of selected economic instruments (EIs) for water demand management. It builds on the papers presented at the Policy Research Initiative’s Symposium on economic instruments for water demand management.
All utilities at one time or another find it necessary to upgrade facilities and expand capacity, especially as water and wastewater service needs continue to increase with the demands of growing populations. As utilities undertake such projects, engineers and operators enter a world of old records, manuals, and drawings—often stored in a confusing disarray—looking for information to help make a project more efficient and therefore more cost-effective.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District, the agency responsible for managing water resources in a 16-county area in west-central Florida, provides a free program to hotels and motels to help conserve water. The district launched the Water Conservation Hotel and Motel Program (Water CHAMP) in 2002 to help decrease the impact vacationers place on Florida’s most precious resource—water.
An up-to-date customer information system (CIS) is an essential component of an effective water utility business. These systems are responsible for a wide range of key business activities including billing, managing credit and collections, tracking water consumption, and responding to customers' needs.
The authors provide an overview of the top ten water utility future trends identified through an assessment of the literature, interviews with public water supply community leaders, and a futures workshop featuring futurists and scenario planning exercises.
The increasing pressure on water utilities to meet growing regulatory expectations is well known. Customers are also clamoring for utilities' attention, demanding service, safety, and taste, and creating pressure from a different direction. Utilities' primary competition is the bottled water industry because of a public perception of greater safety and better taste.
Scenario planning is a powerful tool that can be used by strategic planners to frame the future, and is useful in guiding representatives of the public water supply community when planning for future uncertainty.