San Diego faced a major challenge: It wanted to promote and support water conservation through accurate consumption targeting, tracking and billing, while dealing with the daunting task of working with many local agencies, many different data formats and sources, as well as difficulties getting agency data into a system. There was also the challenge of reaching and educating customers.
Council member Civic Resource Group International developed a web-based system for San Diego as part of a state- funded innovation pilot.
The solution was CivicConnect™ Water – a comprehensive online water conservation/drought management systemthat provides an integrated suite of online tools for San Diego County water agencies to create, track and report water budgets for their customers. Customer reports created by the system are based on a formula that dynamically incorporates such things as customer landscape area measurements, real-time and historic reference crop and effective precipitation data if needed. Water consumption and billing data is transferred on a regular basis from each of the participating agencies..
San Diego has utilized the tool to monitor and manage drought conditions throughout the area. The city has also used it to compare actual usage for hundreds of single family sites to tax assessor parcels to aid in the development of an equitable rate structure for single-family dwellings. Most importantly, the water management system allowed San Diego to strongly encourage and facilitate the conservation of water by making customers aware of their current water usage, historical water usage and recommended/suggested usage.
This project represents a groundbreaking approach to water conservation on a regional basis, and received an Internet Project of the Year award from the California Geographic Information System Association.