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William Holleran, Data Scientist 
wholleran@watersmartsoftware.com 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
Bio 
• Masters in Applied Econometrics 
• Specialized in Regression Based Modeling 
(Specifically Logistic and Fixed Effects Regression 
Models) 
• Learned about social comparison and demand 
response programs through years of evaluation work 
on energy efficiency programs. 
• Apply those evaluation techniques to internal metrics 
at WaterSmart 
• Design experiments and research projects to 
improve the efficacy of WaterSmart’s program 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
Home Water 
Report 
Contents 
• WaterScore 
• Water use in GPD 
• Comparative consumption 
• Personalized 
water-saving actions 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
California’s Response to the Drought 
Region • Who is responding to drought messaging, and what 
influences their response? 
• Production level data showing 5% decrease 
• State Water Board Survey (July 2014) 
• Details production level data for most utilities in CA 
• Responses on drought related activities that each 
utility has taken 
• Using Consumption level data for residential households 
we can isolate the response and match that up with the 
survey level data. 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
Regulatory Timeline 
Jan 17, 2014 
Governor Brown Declares 
Drought State of 
Emergency 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
Regulatory Timeline 
Jan 17, 2014 
Governor Brown Declares 
Drought State of 
Emergency 
April 15, 2014 
Governor Brown Issues 
Executive Order to 
Redouble State Drought 
Actions 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
Regulatory Timeline 
Jul 15, 2014 
State Water Board 
Adopts Emergency 
Conservation Regulations 
“…mandatory restrictions 
on outdoor irrigation…” 
Or seek approval for 
“an alternate plan that 
includes allocation-based 
rate structures” 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
WaterSmart California Dataset (July 2014) 
Region • Clients that partner with WaterSmart transfer all of their 
residential billing data for the past 5 years. 
• Usage data for ~ 5% of households within California 
• Time period used for this analysis: Jan 2011-July 2014 
(bimonthly readings) 
• Apply conversion script to convert data from billing periods 
to calendar months and create full panel dataset 
• Match with property database to acquire age of the home, 
lot-size, number of bedrooms, etc. 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
State Water Board Survey (July 2014) 
Region 
• Survey Responses from 276 out of 440 Water Suppliers in 
California 
• Questions include: 
• Total water production by month (2011-2013 average) 
and 2014. 
• Drought response activities 
• Forecasted shortages 
• Aggregate analysis indicates 5% savings through May 2014 
when compared to the average usage over the same period 
from 2011-2013. 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
• San Francisco (4,470 sq.mi.): 
The drainage into the Pacific 
Ocean from the Stemple 
Creek Basin boundary to and 
including the Pescadero 
Creek Basin. 
• South Coast (11,100 sq.mi.): 
The drainage within the US 
that discharges into the 
Pacific Ocean from the 
Rincon Creek Basin boundary 
to the California-Baja 
California international 
boundary. 
• Sacramento River (27,600 
sq.mi.): The Sacramento 
River Basin and drainage into 
Goose Lake. 
• San Joaquin (15,600 sq.mi): 
The San Joaquin River Basin. 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
Significant Variation between Production and 
Consumption Based Analyses 
(Production Data from State Water Board Survey and Residential Consumption Data 
from WaterSmart) 
Hydrologic 
Region 
Production 
Data 
Consumption 
Data 
San 
Francisco 8.7% 12.2% 
South Coast -6.3% 0.2% 
Sacramento 
River 
13.0% 16.1% 
San Joaquin 
River 26.4% 5.2% 
25.0% 
20.0% 
15.0% 
10.0% 
Statewide 
(Sample) 5.0% 9.3% 0.0% 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE 
5.0% 
Production 
Data 
Consumption 
Data 
% Savings calculated using Feb 
– July Data
Response by Usage Groups 
(Evaluation of WaterInsightProgram) 
TREATMENT EFFECT (%) 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE 
NO CHANGE 
Lowest 
Users 
Highest 
Users 
Analysis by Daniel Brent, Univ. of Washington, June 2012
Top Water Users Slower to Reduce Consumption 
Top quartile versus bottom 3 quartiles 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE 
25.0% 
20.0% 
15.0% 
10.0% 
5.0% 
0.0% 
Hydrologic 
Region 
Q1-Q3 Q4 
San Francisco 15.9% 10.1% 
South Coast 7.1% -8.1% 
Sacramento 
River 
20.4% 18.1% 
San Joaquin 
River 
7.4% 2.4% 
Central Coast 20.5% 4.9% 
Statewide 
(Sample) 
13.8% 4.5% 
Quartiles calculated using 2011- 
2013 average Gallons Per Day
Lot Size not a Significant Driver of Variation, Top 
quartile versus bottom 3 quartiles 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE 
25.0% 
20.0% 
15.0% 
10.0% 
5.0% 
0.0% 
Hydrologic 
Region 
Q1-Q3 Q4 
San Francisco 13.0% 13.2% 
South Coast 4.2% -9.0% 
Sacramento 
River 
19.7% 17.8% 
San Joaquin 
River 
5.1% 4.8% 
Statewide 
(Sample) 
11.6% 7.9% 
Quartiles calculated using 
property data for each 
household within each water 
supplier’s region
Positive Correlation Between Drought Response 
Actions and Savings 
Region 
Water Supplier Action Correlation 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE 
with Savings 
Drought Pricing 0.38 
Mandatory Restrictions 0.46 
Increased Enforcement 
and Monitoring 
0.14 
Drought Stage 0.71 
0.7 
0.6 
0.5 
0.4 
0.3 
0.2 
0.1 
0 
Drought 
Pricing 
Mandatory 
Restrictions 
Increased 
enforcement 
and 
monitoring 
Drought Stage
Water Suppliers that have Enacted Mandatory 
Restrictions have Higher Savings 
Region 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE 
25.0% 
20.0% 
15.0% 
10.0% 
5.0% 
0.0% 
Enacted Mandatory 
Restrictions 
No Mandatory Restrictions 
Action Cumulative Savings 
since Jan 17th 
Enacted Mandatory 
Restrictions 13.4% 
No Mandatory Restrictions 2.8% 
Types of mandatory restrictions: 
• Restrictions on outdoor use 
(e.g. limited irrigation 
schedules) 
• Prohibitions on runoff into street 
and gutters 
• Rationing 
• Customer Leak Repair 
Requirement
Suppliers at Higher Drought Stage Levels Show 
Increased Savings 
Region 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE 
25.0% 
20.0% 
15.0% 
10.0% 
5.0% 
0.0% 
Stage 0 Stage 1 Stage 2 
Utility Plan Stage Cumulative Savings 
since Jan 17th 
Stage 0 -0.1% 
Stage 1 8.9% 
Stage 2 18.4% 
Drought stages are declared at the water 
supplier level in response to conditions in 
their region. Higher stages indicate a 
greater number of restrictions which can 
very based on each supplier’s drought 
plan.
More Conservation Actions Taken by a Utility Lead 
to Greater Reductions 
Region 
Drought Response 
Actions 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE 
% Savings 
0 1.8% 
1 6.2% 
2 9.6% 
3 21.7% 
4 18.7% 
25.0% 
20.0% 
15.0% 
10.0% 
5.0% 
0.0% 
0 1 2 3 4 
Number of actions determined by 
aggregating utility actions: drought pricing, 
mandatory restrictions, increased 
enforcement and monitoring, and the 
drought stage.
PPIC Survey of Residential Households in 
California 
Region 
Data Set: 1,705 Adult Residents of California surveyed via phone (March 
2014) 
• “Would you say that the supply of water is a big problem, somewhat of 
a problem, or not much of a problem in your part of California?” 
• Do you think that the water supply that is available for your part of 
California will be adequate or inadequate for what is needed ten years 
from now? 
• The legislature is considering an approximately $11.1 billion dollar 
bond measure for the November 2014 ballot to pay for state water 
projects. If the election were being held today, would you vote yes or 
no on this state water bond? 
• Would you say that you and your family have taken steps to reduce 
water use recently in response to the current drought? 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
Converting Survey Q’s to Binary Variables 
• “Would you say that the supply of water is a big problem, somewhat of 
Region 
a problem, or not much of a problem in your part of California?” 
• If “big problem”, SupplyProblem = 1 
• Do you think that the water supply that is available for your part of 
California will be adequate or inadequate for what is needed ten years 
from now? 
• If “inadequate”, TenYrSupplyInadequate = 1 
• The legislature is considering an approximately $11.1 billion dollar 
bond measure for the November 2014 ballot to pay for state water 
projects. If the election were being held today, would you vote yes or 
no on this state water bond? 
• If “yes”, ProWaterBond = 1 
• Would you say that you and your family have taken steps to reduce 
water use recently in response to the current drought? 
• If “yes”, Conserver = 1 
• Merge with usage data. 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE
Regression Results 
• Regions with perceived local supply issues have responded stronger 
than those without. 
• Other survey-based variables insignificant 
Variable (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) 
SupplyProblem 0.3548* 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE 
(0.2185) 
- - - 0.4274* 
(0.2219) 
WaterBondImportant - -.09903 
(0.2150) 
- - -0.2274 
(0.2211) 
Conserver - - 0.1029 
(0.2157) 
- 0.1873 
(0.2174) 
ProEnvironmental - - - 
0.1708 
(0.2151) 
0.1397 
(0.2188) 
N 882 872 881 872 863 
R-Squared 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 
Notes: (1) coefficient listed with SE in parenthesis. (2) * indicates coefficient is 
significant at the p=0.10 level.
Final Thoughts 
• Households respond to messaging at the local level, but aren’t 
as responsive to state-wide messaging 
• Instead of funding large state-wide campaigns, provide 
funding to local water suppliers for them to educate their 
customers. 
• Mandatory restrictions work in pushing households to save 
water. 
• Higher users and those with larger lots are not responding 
to messaging as strongly as others. 
• Tend to be more affluent and not price sensitive 
• Need to work on engagement with those households. 
That’s where social comparisons can be particularly 
effective. 
WATERSMART SOFTWARE

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CA Drought Response

  • 1. Engage. Save. Smile. William Holleran, Data Scientist wholleran@watersmartsoftware.com WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 2. Bio • Masters in Applied Econometrics • Specialized in Regression Based Modeling (Specifically Logistic and Fixed Effects Regression Models) • Learned about social comparison and demand response programs through years of evaluation work on energy efficiency programs. • Apply those evaluation techniques to internal metrics at WaterSmart • Design experiments and research projects to improve the efficacy of WaterSmart’s program WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 3. Home Water Report Contents • WaterScore • Water use in GPD • Comparative consumption • Personalized water-saving actions WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 4. California’s Response to the Drought Region • Who is responding to drought messaging, and what influences their response? • Production level data showing 5% decrease • State Water Board Survey (July 2014) • Details production level data for most utilities in CA • Responses on drought related activities that each utility has taken • Using Consumption level data for residential households we can isolate the response and match that up with the survey level data. WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 5. Regulatory Timeline Jan 17, 2014 Governor Brown Declares Drought State of Emergency WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 6. Regulatory Timeline Jan 17, 2014 Governor Brown Declares Drought State of Emergency April 15, 2014 Governor Brown Issues Executive Order to Redouble State Drought Actions WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 7. Regulatory Timeline Jul 15, 2014 State Water Board Adopts Emergency Conservation Regulations “…mandatory restrictions on outdoor irrigation…” Or seek approval for “an alternate plan that includes allocation-based rate structures” WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 8. WaterSmart California Dataset (July 2014) Region • Clients that partner with WaterSmart transfer all of their residential billing data for the past 5 years. • Usage data for ~ 5% of households within California • Time period used for this analysis: Jan 2011-July 2014 (bimonthly readings) • Apply conversion script to convert data from billing periods to calendar months and create full panel dataset • Match with property database to acquire age of the home, lot-size, number of bedrooms, etc. WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 9. State Water Board Survey (July 2014) Region • Survey Responses from 276 out of 440 Water Suppliers in California • Questions include: • Total water production by month (2011-2013 average) and 2014. • Drought response activities • Forecasted shortages • Aggregate analysis indicates 5% savings through May 2014 when compared to the average usage over the same period from 2011-2013. WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 10. • San Francisco (4,470 sq.mi.): The drainage into the Pacific Ocean from the Stemple Creek Basin boundary to and including the Pescadero Creek Basin. • South Coast (11,100 sq.mi.): The drainage within the US that discharges into the Pacific Ocean from the Rincon Creek Basin boundary to the California-Baja California international boundary. • Sacramento River (27,600 sq.mi.): The Sacramento River Basin and drainage into Goose Lake. • San Joaquin (15,600 sq.mi): The San Joaquin River Basin. WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 11. Significant Variation between Production and Consumption Based Analyses (Production Data from State Water Board Survey and Residential Consumption Data from WaterSmart) Hydrologic Region Production Data Consumption Data San Francisco 8.7% 12.2% South Coast -6.3% 0.2% Sacramento River 13.0% 16.1% San Joaquin River 26.4% 5.2% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% Statewide (Sample) 5.0% 9.3% 0.0% WATERSMART SOFTWARE 5.0% Production Data Consumption Data % Savings calculated using Feb – July Data
  • 12. Response by Usage Groups (Evaluation of WaterInsightProgram) TREATMENT EFFECT (%) WATERSMART SOFTWARE NO CHANGE Lowest Users Highest Users Analysis by Daniel Brent, Univ. of Washington, June 2012
  • 13. Top Water Users Slower to Reduce Consumption Top quartile versus bottom 3 quartiles WATERSMART SOFTWARE 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Hydrologic Region Q1-Q3 Q4 San Francisco 15.9% 10.1% South Coast 7.1% -8.1% Sacramento River 20.4% 18.1% San Joaquin River 7.4% 2.4% Central Coast 20.5% 4.9% Statewide (Sample) 13.8% 4.5% Quartiles calculated using 2011- 2013 average Gallons Per Day
  • 14. Lot Size not a Significant Driver of Variation, Top quartile versus bottom 3 quartiles WATERSMART SOFTWARE 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Hydrologic Region Q1-Q3 Q4 San Francisco 13.0% 13.2% South Coast 4.2% -9.0% Sacramento River 19.7% 17.8% San Joaquin River 5.1% 4.8% Statewide (Sample) 11.6% 7.9% Quartiles calculated using property data for each household within each water supplier’s region
  • 15. Positive Correlation Between Drought Response Actions and Savings Region Water Supplier Action Correlation WATERSMART SOFTWARE with Savings Drought Pricing 0.38 Mandatory Restrictions 0.46 Increased Enforcement and Monitoring 0.14 Drought Stage 0.71 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 Drought Pricing Mandatory Restrictions Increased enforcement and monitoring Drought Stage
  • 16. Water Suppliers that have Enacted Mandatory Restrictions have Higher Savings Region WATERSMART SOFTWARE 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Enacted Mandatory Restrictions No Mandatory Restrictions Action Cumulative Savings since Jan 17th Enacted Mandatory Restrictions 13.4% No Mandatory Restrictions 2.8% Types of mandatory restrictions: • Restrictions on outdoor use (e.g. limited irrigation schedules) • Prohibitions on runoff into street and gutters • Rationing • Customer Leak Repair Requirement
  • 17. Suppliers at Higher Drought Stage Levels Show Increased Savings Region WATERSMART SOFTWARE 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Stage 0 Stage 1 Stage 2 Utility Plan Stage Cumulative Savings since Jan 17th Stage 0 -0.1% Stage 1 8.9% Stage 2 18.4% Drought stages are declared at the water supplier level in response to conditions in their region. Higher stages indicate a greater number of restrictions which can very based on each supplier’s drought plan.
  • 18. More Conservation Actions Taken by a Utility Lead to Greater Reductions Region Drought Response Actions WATERSMART SOFTWARE % Savings 0 1.8% 1 6.2% 2 9.6% 3 21.7% 4 18.7% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% 0 1 2 3 4 Number of actions determined by aggregating utility actions: drought pricing, mandatory restrictions, increased enforcement and monitoring, and the drought stage.
  • 19. PPIC Survey of Residential Households in California Region Data Set: 1,705 Adult Residents of California surveyed via phone (March 2014) • “Would you say that the supply of water is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not much of a problem in your part of California?” • Do you think that the water supply that is available for your part of California will be adequate or inadequate for what is needed ten years from now? • The legislature is considering an approximately $11.1 billion dollar bond measure for the November 2014 ballot to pay for state water projects. If the election were being held today, would you vote yes or no on this state water bond? • Would you say that you and your family have taken steps to reduce water use recently in response to the current drought? WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 20. Converting Survey Q’s to Binary Variables • “Would you say that the supply of water is a big problem, somewhat of Region a problem, or not much of a problem in your part of California?” • If “big problem”, SupplyProblem = 1 • Do you think that the water supply that is available for your part of California will be adequate or inadequate for what is needed ten years from now? • If “inadequate”, TenYrSupplyInadequate = 1 • The legislature is considering an approximately $11.1 billion dollar bond measure for the November 2014 ballot to pay for state water projects. If the election were being held today, would you vote yes or no on this state water bond? • If “yes”, ProWaterBond = 1 • Would you say that you and your family have taken steps to reduce water use recently in response to the current drought? • If “yes”, Conserver = 1 • Merge with usage data. WATERSMART SOFTWARE
  • 21. Regression Results • Regions with perceived local supply issues have responded stronger than those without. • Other survey-based variables insignificant Variable (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) SupplyProblem 0.3548* WATERSMART SOFTWARE (0.2185) - - - 0.4274* (0.2219) WaterBondImportant - -.09903 (0.2150) - - -0.2274 (0.2211) Conserver - - 0.1029 (0.2157) - 0.1873 (0.2174) ProEnvironmental - - - 0.1708 (0.2151) 0.1397 (0.2188) N 882 872 881 872 863 R-Squared 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 Notes: (1) coefficient listed with SE in parenthesis. (2) * indicates coefficient is significant at the p=0.10 level.
  • 22. Final Thoughts • Households respond to messaging at the local level, but aren’t as responsive to state-wide messaging • Instead of funding large state-wide campaigns, provide funding to local water suppliers for them to educate their customers. • Mandatory restrictions work in pushing households to save water. • Higher users and those with larger lots are not responding to messaging as strongly as others. • Tend to be more affluent and not price sensitive • Need to work on engagement with those households. That’s where social comparisons can be particularly effective. WATERSMART SOFTWARE

Editor's Notes

  1. How does the response differ by region? What types of households are responding to the messaging more than others? Do the actions utilities take to reduce consumption actually work? How does a region’s mentality towards water supply influence their actions? PPIC Survey of Residential Households in CA
  2. washing down driveways and sidewalks; watering of outdoor landscapes that cause excess runoff; using a hose to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle, and using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated. 10K fine
  3. 30% of Suppliers have instituted mandatory restrictions
  4. Define regions for which we have data. Major population centers located in South Coast and San Francisco regions Regions are defined based on geology and thus cut across county lines.
  5. Only showing a subset of the 10 regions
  6. Shows that there is a trend between usage quantile and savings response.
  7. Statewide highest users are savings less percentage-wise than the rest of the population. Trend holds across most regions except Sacramento River Valley.
  8. Lot Size is used in the WaterSmart Algorithm. On average larger lots save less on a percentage basis than smaller ones.
  9. Look at different trends in water use across regions.
  10. Look at different trends in water use across regions.