Throughout the past several months, news outlets have informed the public of the historical water shortage in California that has just recently transformed into a crisis. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times published an article saying that statewide water conservation has improved since earlier this year but the southern counties lag behind the northern counties in their efforts. Cutback levels have been severe in the southern parts of California, forcing some families to reduce water consumption by as much as 70%. Many residents feel the new restrictions are unreasonable and that it is difficult to meet water use reductions. Cutbacks vary on a county-by-county basis but most utilities are feeling extreme pressure to reduce consumption areawide. This pressure has translated into severe penalties for consumers who fail to meet these expectations, creating tense relations between residents and their local government.
The water crisis has fostered an adversarial relationship between the two parties as consumers believe utilities are creating regulations that are impossible to abide by. Counties, however, are under constant pressure to meet the governor’s 25% statewide cut in water use and enforce extreme conservation measures. As relations worsen, many are wondering how to lessen this inherent conflict.
Utilities need to consider the behavioral aspect of conservation activities and take steps to positively influence the actions of the consumer. Online platforms, like Brilliency, provide a medium through which utilities can form valuable relationships with consumers. Utility companies gain communication channels by which they can provide conservation resources and tips and receive feedback. In California, local utilities could release countywide statements regarding rebates or reward programs using the Brilliant Efficiency Platform. They would also have the ability to distribute personalized messages to consumers based on household consumption. For residents, Brilliency provides an opportunity to become better-informed of their consumption and save money. The platform empowers consumers to track their water usage over time and compare their usage to others. Brilliency helps to forge a partnership between utility and consumer and encourage mutually beneficial activity.
California’s drought is far from over and long-term solutions are still in progress. Steep fines and penalties can only be effective for so long as relations continue to worsen. Rather than forcing consumers to abide by strict regulations, utilities should incentivize good behavior and nurture positive relations. Utilities need to create customer engagement through innovative measures in order to encourage water-saving behavior. An alliance between utilities and consumers is the ideal strategy to reduce water consumption and create a self-aware and environmentally-friendly population. Brilliency achieves this goal by allowing utilities to maintain lasting connections with consumers and reform wasteful habits into energy-conscious behavior.