Clean Water – The Greatest Gift this Holiday season

We here at Tata & Howard wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe holiday and prosperous new year!

It’s the holidays again and ’tis the season for giving gifts, being with our loved ones and celebrating our good fortune by helping those in need.

Credit: Water for People

Here at Tata & Howard we are doing just that.  2014 has been a busy year for us; one of growth and many successes delivering and maintaining proper access to clean water sources for communities all over the country . That is why at this time of year we like to support the gift of clean water for those who sadly don’t have access to this basic human right in other countries.  In addition to the great community service work our regional offices do locally, our team also contributes throughout the year to  our corporate holiday giving fund.  At the end of year the money which staff have contributed is then matched by the company and donated to Water for People.

This global non-profit explains their work is as simple as their name. “We want all people to have safe, continuous water, and when they do, our job will be done. We want water for everyone, forever.”

Currently, 748 million people around the world do not have access to clean water. And, 2.5 billion people – or one in three people – do not have access to something as basic as a toilet.  Lack of access to clean water is at epidemic proportions and contributes to higher mortality rates, lower education levels, and increased violence in countries affected.

Water for People is looking beyond toilets and wells and water pumps, and into the future. The group works with people in affected countries to find out how they live and what they need to feel healthy, safe, empowered, and successful. As their website says, “We’re designing solutions based on long-term needs — and long lives. We don’t want to be around forever, but we want water to be.”

And this non-profit gets it.  The founders, Ken Miller, a former president of AWWA, Wayne Weiss,  and John B. Mannion, a former executive director of AWWA, joined forces to create a path for Water For People’s establishment as an international nonprofit development organization in 1991, which grew to become a leader in social responsibility and innovation in the sector.

Today, Water For People is the AWWA designated charity of choice, and is also endorsed by the Water Environment Federation, the Water Quality Association, the National Association of Water Companies, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.

40 BILLION HOURS from Water For People on Vimeo.

Find out more about their work by visiting their website  We hope you are inspired as much as we are to give thanks at this year’s end by contributing to support the development of clean and healthy water sources for more around the world.

We here at Tata & Howard wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe holiday and prosperous new year!

Smart Grid Water Networks: Part of the Water Efficiency Arsenal

Water-Grid-FeatureThe impacts of global climate change have driven governments, businesses, and communities around the world to consider efficiency and conservation in all areas of our lives, rethink business plans, and reconsider the relationships between people and resources to create a more sustainable future.

Nowhere is this focus on sustainability clearer than in water utilities. Faced with an aging distribution infrastructure in need of overhauling, growing populations, and shrinking supply, utilities are struggling with developing innovative, yet cost effective, ways to maintain and improve already maxed out water systems.

Just as smart metering has shed light on our energy use, utilities, environmental groups, and governments are beginning to look to smart metering to help with water conservation.

What is Smart Networks and Metering? AMI vs. AMR

A smart water network – or smart grid for water – may be the next big thing as communities around the world come to terms with water scarcity and the need for water conservation.  The crux of the smart water network is advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technology. AMI can provide a remote and constant two-way communication link between utilities, meters and consumers via the usual communications technologies (broadband, fiber optic cable, wireless, etc.).

As a key component of a smart water network, smart water meters integrated with sensing technologies give water utilities advanced tools for more efficiently measuring water consumption and providing water customers with data to help them monitor their water usage and reduce costs.  Often known as “smart lite”, advanced meter reading (AMR) technology, one-way information gathering from customer to utility is seen as a cost effective approach to accurate billing and leakage. This solves the bulk of many water utility needs.

Benefits – Knowledge is Power

Smart metering increases the information available to the customer which helps them better understand and curb their water use.

Preliminary investigation indicates that customers with displays are more likely to use less water. However, installing monitors at each customer site may come with a price tag water utilities find difficult to afford. As a result, many elect less expensive ways to provide consumption details, such as Web sites or printouts enclosed with bills. Although surveys indicate that customers prefer the on-site display, web portals are another effective method to link concerned customers to information on how to lower consumption and/or bills.

Smart metering also delivers valuable data to utilities. For example, utilities can use the data collected to detect customer-premises leaks from their end. Utilities could also use the technology to identify possible leaks at commercial and industrial properties with round-the-clock water use.

More over, according to UN-Water, approximately 8% of the world’s energy production is used for pumping, treating and transporting water. Saved water means saved energy—a double benefit—and a better future for generations to come.

Smart water networks have evolved to the point where they can reliably produce the benefits described above, within very reasonable payback periods. While many jurisdictions are contemplating extreme measures – water rationing, desalinization plants, building canals hundreds of miles long – smart water networks can reclaim 20% to 40% of water that is typically lost to leaks and theft, according to

So What’s the Catch?

While there are increasing studies looking at the benefits and uses of smart metering, utilities are not overlooking the price tag that comes along with the technology.    Additionally, the jury is still out whether or not customers will embrace yet another judgement on their lifestyle.  In the early days of energy metering, some utilities paid big bucks to have local  energy use comparisons printed on customer bills.  The frowning face on high energy-use customers’ bills did very little to encourage conservation and win over utilities good intentions with the public.

There are still many challenges in network understanding and costs analysis that make smart water networks slow in development. Despite the many benefits, justifying the implementation of the technology to support smart metering will require cooperation and support from local and regional governments, communities, and above all, customers.

Careful planning and close scrutiny of all the costs associated with implementing a smart water network will allow utilities to plan for scaleable implementation of this technology.