The Challenge of a Generation

What Are We Doing To Conserve California?

“This is the drought of the century, with greater impact than anything our parents and grandparents experienced, and we have to act accordingly.” -Felicia Marcus, SWRCB

June 10, 2015 — It is hard to believe that Governor Brown stood at Echo Summit less than six weeks ago to announce our state’s mandatory water restrictions. In less than fifty days, the SWRCB has shepherded us through multiple drafts of regulations, fielded our requests for change where fit, and answered our questions when needed. It is heartening to see our state move so quickly and, with only a couple bumps in the road, generally in unison.

Governor Brown at Echo Summit

On June 1, 61 days after Governor Brown stood at Echo Summit, the SWRCB will start holding utilities responsible for their respective water conservation tiers. This will last through February of 2016.

Dropcountr helps utilities of all sizes conserve water — private or public, AMI-equipped or otherwise. We have built a platform that not only helps utilities understand and manage their homeowners, but also an app and portal that helps homeowners understand and manage their own unique water use. This is a collective effort, and everyone must do their part.

Below I’ve outlined a number of ways we help California utilities meet their conservation goals. I’d love to chat with you and your team about how we can help meet our state’s regulations and Conserve California.

Robb Barnitt
Dropcountr Founder & CEO

Conservation Marketing
Radio ads and billboards will help generate awareness in your community — but we’ve found that these advertisements are considerably expensive and ineffective in reaching your homeowners and staying top of mind.

The challenge for utilities isn’t what carrot or what stick will help people conserve — it’s how do you reach people in a way that works and drives action?

21st century conservation marketing

Dropcountr builds a direct line of communication between your utility staff and your homeowners. With push notifications, text messages or emails, Dropcountr CLEAR gives you the tools and flexibility to reach your service area quickly, efficiently and at a fraction the cost of traditional advertising. Turf replacement and appliance rebates are only effective if homeowners are aware of their existence and how to get them. Homeowners trending up could use a gentle reminder about their water use, just like those doing a good job could use a pat on the back.

Behavioral Science & Going Conservative
Our liberal governor wants California to go conservative. With water, that is. The goal here is to shape the California Citizen’s approach to water. Informing homeowners on their water use is the first step towards an attitude shift, and we’ve found that usage data is often shocking enough to start the conservation process.

The next step we take is to put that data into context about a homeowner’s peers and neighborhood water usage. This is remarkably influential in conserving water and a proven strategy in the energy sector.

With goal-setting, we give homeowners nudges in the right direction. “This is how much you use, your neighbors use, and how much an efficient household uses.” Historically, these goals have been different than what they are today. The ease of a smartphone allows homeowners to check their daily or monthly water use anytime, anywhere, and measure how they’re doing against set goals.

Budgeting and financial incentives are as much a conservation driver as social-norming, so we’ve built a tool that informs homeowners on their water use in the context of water tiers (if applicable). Dropcountr informs users on their unique tiers, historical performance, how they are doing that month (if AMI-equipped) and where their goal sits on the water tier spectrum.

Reporting & Enforcement
Dropcountr has built a tool that streamlines the SWRCB mandated reporting responsibilities. With the click of a button, your utility staff, technical or otherwise, can easily collect, organize and send the SWRCB required monthly data. Think of it as TurboTax for Water. We’re here to make this process easier for you.

Enforcement is tough, but necessary for encouraging conservation. Water-Cops are one option, though likely as effective and expensive as the aforementioned radio ads and billboards. With Dropcountr CLEAR, your utility staff can easily filter and send gentle warnings to high-water users. If warnings are ineffective, CLEAR makes it easy for your staff to identify those to take further steps with.

Example CLEAR platform screenshot

This is the challenge of our generation, and praying for rain is not part of our strategy. The goal here is to change the way California Citizens understand, manage and conserve their water, and to give them the tools to do so. This is largely untraveled territory, but well within the grasp of our state. I am confident we will look back at this time as a period California became smarter, stronger and more strategic with their water use.

We’re here to help — let’s Conserve California.

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