City Implements New WaterSmart Program
After 5,000 randomly-selected, single-family homes receive water usage reports for the next year, the city hopes they will become more conscious of their water usage—saving the environment and saving the city money.
By Taylor Stevens
West Jordan - West Jordan City recently adopted a new WaterSmart program that will allow users to see custom reports of their water usage in an effort to promote citywide accountability and sustainability.
The idea for the WaterSmart program came from a group of citizens called the Sustainability Committee, according to Councilmember Chris McConnehey, and was implemented by West Jordan’s management assistant to the city manager, Steve Glain.
The program will send custom water reports to 5,000 randomly-selected, single-family homes in West Jordan. Those residents will then be able to see how their water usage matches up to that of other families in the area.
Household comparison is the key to the program.
“People can learn how they compare to their neighbors, and without setting up any penalties or fines, we just provide them with information; people tend to want to do the right thing and move toward their efficient neighbors and become more like them.”
The first water reports went out at the end of September, and the city will now begin sending those residents their bimonthly water usage report. At the end of the program, the city will compare the water usage of those who received WaterSmart reports with a control group who did not and decide if the program is worth continuing.
The WaterSmart program is being funded 80 percent with money from a grant from the Jordan Water Conservancy District and 20 percent by the city.
If West Jordan residents use less water, it’s better for the environment—which is why the city is moving toward its goal of a citywide reduction in water usage.
“The city has a goal that was set back in the year 2000 to reduce its per capita water consumption by 25 percent by the year 2025, and that’s actually the same as the statewide goal,” Glain said. “Any [reduction] in water consumption will move us toward that goal, and of course its good for the environment. In Utah, population is growing but the water supply is not growing. It’s sort of a fixed amount.”
Water reduction is also good for the city’s pocketbooks.
“From a financial perspective, the city can save money on the water that we buy from the water district before we sell it to our customers [if consumers use less],” Glain said. “We can save money if we reduce our peak demand, meaning the highest points of demand in the middle of the summer and the middle of the day. If we can reduce those peaks, we actually pay less per gallon.”
If you use city water but your home wasn’t one of the 5,000 randomly selected to receive WaterSmart usage reports and you’re interested in seeing your data, Glain says the city is still able to provide that.
“Even if a homeowner is not part of that 5,000, we have all of the data,” Glain said. “We have these customer reports electronically that we can send by email to any customer for free.”
Interested residents can request this information from Steve Glain at SteveG@wjordan.com.
“Overall, the city is moving towards its goal of 25 percent reduction per capita water use,” Glain said. “We’re saving water, but we’re saving a little bit less than we used to, and we’re hoping people will respond to a little reminder like this.”