The city of Dubuque is entering the second phase of project that allows community volunteers to have real-time access to data on how much water they use. Project manager, David Lyons, says it’s part of larger project to let people see the various resources they’re using, including electricity, natural gas and the miles they travel.
Lyons says the water is the first part of the project to be completed, the second is electricity pilot, which is installed and early next year they will be able to offer residents the information on its usage. And they are also working on the natural gas and vehicle miles traveled portions.
Volunteers signed up for the water pilot project and are able to log on and see how much water they use. He says they are to see things that might help them cut their water usage or use it more efficiently. Lyons says for example, the system can detect very small water leaks and allow people to fix those leaks. He says water leaks have been found to be the single biggest use of water in the city.
Lyons says the information allows participants to voluntarily make changes in their water usage by examining the information on their usage. Lyons says they’ll be able to say they want to reduce their water usage by 20% and view the data to determine how best to do that. He says they can also see how they can reduce their carbon footprint or set a goal of saving $50 a month and use the data to find the most the best way to do that at the lowest investment.
The first pilot study of water usage is over and Lyons says they are having the data certified. Lyons says the data has to be review, but he says the early look has them pleased with the trends they are seeing as people adjust their usage. He says the city is pleased with the number of people who have been able to find and fix leaks and the return on investment they’ve had in fixing those leaks.
Lyons says they are also happy with the returns they see from people who decide to make changes in their appliances or other systems to save water and money. Lyons says this is a multimillion dollar project that includes I.B.M. as a partner, and they also won a grant from the Iowa Office of Energy Independence. Lyons says if the data all shows good results, they would like to be able to offer the program to anyone in the city who wants it.