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Data has the power to transform our world into a better place through improved resource management and planning. Rather than making arbitrary or experience-based choices, decision-makers increasingly rely on data to provide the most accurate overview of the challenges they face and understand the interconnected factors influencing that resource. Data is not only for large companies - Small and Medium Businesses (SMB), and individuals can also access and utilize data to their benefit.
As water usage becomes increasingly more challenging globally, it is our responsibility to utilize data to optimize and conserve the world's most important resource. Outdoor landscape irrigation is one of the most wasteful uses of America’s fresh water, mainly due to the lack of usage visibility and data tracking. Although not all regions in the U.S. currently struggle with drought, changing weather patterns may not always guarantee plentiful water supplies for the future, so conservation practice is required for safe and sustainable resource management.
Decision making simplifies when your data tells a clear story of what management practices work and where improvements are needed. The ability to scrutinize each data component of your landscape health, while maintaining a holistic overview, helps decision makers see the big picture behind their actions.
Some institutions have already begun to see the value in data transparency, creating trust while achieving their sustainability and conservation goals. A case study will present the challenges experienced by the University of Texas at Austin, and how they used data to track and visualize irrigation water use to conserve 70% of the 2009 base year, decrease their spending, and most importantly, demonstrate return on their investment. The University of Texas at Austin won the Texas Environmental Excellence award for Water Conservation in 2017 for changes in the irrigation system with the addition of the irrigation dashboard to show transparency.