Energy & Environment Lab Smart Technology Can Help Us Conserve Water—If We Let It

EPIC News / November 30, 2022
By Staff

As the Western United States faces its worst mega-drought in more than a millennium and the largest reservoirs quickly deplete, there is an urgent need for local leaders to identify effective ways to conserve water in their communities. Fortunately, “smart meters” are easy to deploy and often already in place to measure a household’s water usage. A new study that followed the roll-out of a pilot policy using smart meter data to enforce water restrictions in one California city found the policy did succeed in reducing water use—but perhaps too well. 


“Smart technologies offer local leaders immense opportunities to achieve better compliance with everything from pollution rules to water conservation and more. We found that using smart meters is easy to implement, they’re able to detect almost all water use violations, and they can be the go-to solution for local governments that don’t have the resources or manpower for source-to-source inspections,” says co-author Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. “The urgency of the water challenge in the west requires such highly efficient tools. However, as policymakers introduce new technologies, they will need to carefully balance improved monitoring with community expectations and enforcement efforts.” 


Read Full Article

12 September 2023