9 Ways to Make a Business Case for Flow Management

Jenene Jackson Blog

Considering that North American water costs have increased by as much as 41% since 2010, and most landscapes are overwatered by 30-300%, adopting water flow management may be one of your most profitable moves.

The good news is that installing flow management gives you both visibility and control, providing the intelligence you need to monitor water usage and quickly fix leaks, broken pipes or other related flow problems.

Flow management is critical to having true 360° visibility over your water usage. Visibility enables:

  • Accurate landscape budgeting and water costs
  • The tracking of actual water use rather than waiting for the utility company bill
  • Verification that your water bills are accurate
  • Early warning of potential and actual problems

“Advanced water management lets businesses use near real-time data to manage landscape water management. This will save money and the planet water,” says HydroPoint customer Kevin Leonard, vice president, Alternate Channels at AT&T.

FLOW MANAGEMENT PREVENTS SIGNIFICANT WATER WASTE

Frequent leaks and pipe breaks are a fact of life in the landscaping world. Flow management is your insurance against these unpredictable water events by providing real-time notifications so you can rapidly identify leaks and breaks before damage and water waste occurs. You can also program the system to automatically shut down for additional peace of mind.

Without flow management, leaks and breaks are hard to pinpoint and the aftermath of excess water could be costly. After installing flow management, Chad Sutton, a water resource manager with Gachina Landscape Management, had the visibility to identify one area on a corporate campus that was leaking as much as five gallons a minute, probably for years. That equates to 300 gallons an hour, 7200 gallons a day, and 2,628,000 gallons a year.

Aging systems and unmanaged flow are exasperating the problem. An estimated 2.1 trillion gallons of clean, treated water are lost every year to leaks in water infrastructure across the U.S. In 2013, the city of Houston watched 15 billion gallons go down the drain due to leaking pipes.

ASIDE FROM BILL SHOCK, WATER DAMAGE AND REPAIR COSTS CAN BE STAGGERING

Remediating broken or leaking pipes isn’t inexpensive. A Denver plumber estimates the average bill to fix broken pipes is $900. If the leak is under a concrete slab foundation, just repairing the pipe can cost $500-$3,800 more.

Office buildings with a running or leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day. That adds up to over 6,000 gallons a month. The EPA estimates that a water bill from a single leaky toilet could cost more than $2,000 a year.

Even though most water mains can last more than 50 years, eventually they’re going to fail, creating expensive and extensive flood damage. The cost to fix a water main break can be substantial. For example:

  • Replacing just the broken section of pipe usually costs $500-$1,000
  • Replacing the entire main line could cost anywhere from about $1,500-$5,000
  • Water damage is one of the largest costs associated with leaks and broken pipes.

Depending on the extent of the damage, total cleanup costs can be $5,000-$70,000 or more. Undetected, the repair and wasted water costs escalate. Left untreated, surfaces with water saturation could develop mold, causing other health and safety issues.

WHY AREN’T MORE ORGANIZATIONS TAKING ACTION?

Clearly, many organizations are washing away profits. But why? Partially because few water leaders have been able to articulate a compelling business case for flow management. A sustainability manager at a large auto parts manufacturer expressed the company’s lack of interest in water management as follows: “It’s not worth our time. Water is too cheap and no one cares.”

Investors worth trillions of dollars feel quite differently. Many have told their Fortune 500 portfolio companies that water issues are a major risk to business due to a decrease in global water quality, in conjunction with increases in scarcity, regulation and compliance.

A business case for managing flow involves the overall impact of water management which, for CEOs and CFOs managing risk, should also include multi-faceted financial and operational gains.

9 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT FLOW MANAGEMENT:

  1. Gallons saved: With today’s technology, better management has saved businesses up to 25% on water use within their direct operations
  2. Operational efficiency: Deploying water-conservation initiatives has a direct impact on operational costs. Costco, for instance, has cut its water use in North America by 22% and realized rapid ROI
  3. Insurance against catastrophe: Water damage is one of the top insurance claims. Real-time water alerts to anomalies can help catch issues sooner
  4. Visibility and measurement: Knowing what you usually use and have used eliminates surprises, verifies billing and enables accurate budgeting
  5. Reduced energy use: Less water usage requires less energy to heat and pump
  6. Lower treatment costs: A reduction in water use means less water to treat
  7. Compliance advantage: Using less water means less discharge, less contaminants, fewer total dissolved solids or bio oxygen demand, resulting in lower discharge rates and less regulatory exposure
  8. Easier business expansion: Companies in water-stressed areas can reduce impact and land mitigation fees by practicing smarter water management
  9. Corporate goodwill and community support: Visible efforts to manage water enhances your reputation and increases positive feelings within the community