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Inspect What You Expect

Inspect

We have all heard the term, “Inspect what you expect.”  Measurement of performance is one of the quickest ways to inspire change.  The landscape irrigation industry could benefit from better tools to measure the amount of water used on a daily basis.

The non-profit group Charity Water (www.charitywater.org) recently focused on a project done at Teague, a manufacturing firm. Teague measured the amount of water flowing through their office kitchen faucet.  They were concerned about this because of the ease of water flow from the kitchen faucet, is in stark contrast to what is known to be true about scarcity of water.  They developed a meter to measure the flow of water and monitored the water use on their computers.  They informed office staff water use was being measured, and looked for any behavioral changes.  They discovered most people were using about two gallons of water to wash their hands.  They determined because the data about water use was not providing instant feedback to the person washing their hands, they were not getting the expected reduction in water use.

Next, they moved an Apple Ipad next to the sink, in clear view of the person washing their hands.  This had tremendous impact on the users because they could actually see the amount of water they were using.  They observed people were now shutting off the water while they soaped their hands and re-started it to rinse. The change in behavior resulted in substantial water savings.  People were now only using a ½ gallon of water to wash their hands. You can see a video of the project at here .

In landscape irrigation, we are developing water budgets for properties and measuring against the budget to make sure we are watering efficiently.  Mostly we measure water use by reading meters on a weekly basis at best.  The challenge is just like at Teague, when the data is away from the source of water or delayed there is no behavioral change.  To drive water use down, real-time devices should measure water use on a daily basis and compare it to a water budget delivered directly to the water manager. As more competitive and affordable technology for real time measurement is available, the water savings are going to be substantial.

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Richard Restuccia

Richard Restuccia is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. Richard is a spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. Currently he serves on the Irrigation Association’s Board of Directors. As a board member, Richard serves in a variety of capacities, including government/public affairs. He is the liaison between the board and its marketing committee on the best ways to promote water efficiency and educate industry professionals on new technologies, products and services. Richard is also a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine.

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COMMENTS (4)

  1. […] Richard Restuccia’s post last year, Inspect What You Expect, he touched on the importance of seeing results as an instigator of change. Rob Maday, founder of […]

  2. […] Richard Restuccia’s post last year, Inspect What You Expect, he touched on the importance of seeing results as an instigator of change. Rob Maday, founder of […]

  3. […] results-oriented.  Sustainable savings results are imperative to success of any water management solutions plan. Don’t proceed without seeing […]

  4. […] Inspect what you expect.  Take time to document your water use by recording the numbers on your water meter on a weekly basis.  It just takes a small pad of paper and a pencil.  As a bonus your neighbors will be wondering what you doing.  If one of them is bold enough to ask you will be able to spread the water saving news to them too. […]

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