Do you use more water than your neighbor? WaterSmart knows

Software opens up more detailed communications about consumption between water utilities and residential water customers.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

In late December 2011, I wrote about 12 cleantech water startups I plan to keep closer tabs on during the next 12 months. Here's another one for our collective list, WaterSmart Software, which is designed to help residential customers keep better tabs on their water consumption habits.

The co-founders of this emerging company, Rob Steiner (sales and business development) and Peter Yolles (the CEO), said their software is designed to provide a link between water utilities and their customers, helping the latter understand more explicitly what they are using and when. This is the same principle applied by man of the home energy management software applications that we've been hearing about for the past two years.

Right now, all most of us know when we see our water bill is the aggregate amount. WaterSmart would provide information that is much more granular, in the form of printed information sent with a water bill or in an electronic format.

"Our application is rooted in behavioral science," Steiner said. "It would help them compare their own water use to others in their community. If they are not doing as well as the average, it would help them understand the best things they can do to react and act on this."

The drawback is that WaterSmart is still very much in start-up mode right now; it snagged some additional seed funding in May 2011 from Menlo Incubator, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Physic Ventures and Sand Hill Angels. As of the end of 2011, the company hoped to have its software in pilot with about a half-dozen water utilities in the United States in order to work out the kinks.

Yolles said WaterSmart's primary mission is to help water utilities drive conservation programs, even in districts that don't have water constraints.

If all goes well, information about the progress of their pilots should be flowing later in 2012.

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