WaterSmart Software, a small startup company in San Francisco, is working with local water districts in the US state of California to turn meter data into home water reports that are mailed directly to homeowners or made accessible through the web and mobile devices, reports San Jose Mercury News.

WaterSmart, which is working with 15 water district customers in four states, uses a technique known as ‘behavioural water efficiency’ comparing households’ personal water consumption with those of neighbourhood averages.

In California, where water utilities are being asked to reduce their per capita water use by 20 per cent by 2020, many water districts are eager for new, creative ways to encourage consumers to save water.

Pilot scheme

Californian water provider East Bay Municipal Utility District (EMUD) used WaterSmart Software with 10,000 residential customers during a one-year pilot.

Residential customers were provided personal water use reports that compared their water use to similar-sized homes in the area and made recommendations on ways to save water.

EBMUD was hoping for a 2 percent increase in conservation, but the pilot drove a 5 percent reduction in residential water use and was so successful that EBMUD is now expanding it to 100,000 customers.

Andrea Pook of EBMUD, said: “We know that people regularly underestimate how much water they use.

“And the water bill isn’t a hugely effective way for people to understand their use – the home water reports allow us to really target information.”

Watersmart offers subscibers a "WaterScore" in a monthly home water report.

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