Get WaterSmart!

We’re very excited to show off Aqua WaterSmart, an interactive program to help consumers conserve water in their homes and learn about the water treatment process. The new program is available on the home page of the Aqua America website.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the U.S. population has doubled over the last 30 years and the demand for drinking water has tripled during this time,” said Aqua Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. “Further, more than half of our country is facing water shortages. At Aqua, we recognize the importance of proactive conservation to protect this important resource and remain committed to bringing clean, safe drinking water to our customers for the cost of about a penny a gallon.” 

The interactive program is an illustration of a home, with clickable elements in each room that provide water conservation tips for everyday activities, such as cleaning, gardening and personal care. The program is available as a mobile web app on tablets and smartphones, and accessible on most web browsers for desktops and laptops.  

The program also focuses on education about how water travels from a source to the tap, with downloadable infographics that explain the processes to treat surface water, groundwater, and wastewater. “Most people turn on their tap water every day without realizing how source water is treated and then delivered to their home,” said Karl Kyriss, executive vice president, who oversees Aqua’s information technology department. “We created this resource to help educate consumers about the entire process, which further supports our focus on conservation. By conserving water use in day-to-day activities, we save water and energy, reducing our total environmental impact.

By working together to save water in small ways throughout our home and daily routines, we can make a big impact and help save water,” added DeBenedictis.

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Paperless Billing Delivers Benefits

In today’s tight economy, utility companies are pressured to improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and protect the environment. A successful billing method helps Aqua America achieve all of these goals.

Aqua Online, the paperless billing solution, gives customers the option of receiving their water or wastewater bill electronically through the Aqua website. It also allows customers the option of paying their bill electronically. The system is convenient for customers, lowers paper and postage costs and saves trees.

The move to Aqua Online will bring rewards. According to a survey by PayItGreen, there is a direct connection between paperless billing and customer satisfaction – customers who switch to online payments tend to be happier. The paperless system will also bring significant cost savings to Aqua “Financially, it’s less expensive for the company to send an electronic bill than a paper bill, mainly because we eliminate the cost of postage,” explained Aqua Regional President Rick Fox, who was vice president of customer operations when the company developed Aqua Online. 

“There’s also a much quicker delivery time, and when people get a paperless bill, they typically pay a few days sooner than they do with a paper bill.”

The change to paperless will also conserve tress. Aqua typically mails around 850,000 paper bills a month, each one generating at least three pieces of paper: the bill, the return envelope and the mailing envelope. Often, other paper materials – billing stuffers, letters and regulatory information, such as water-quality reports – are also enclosed in the mailings.

Using less paper is only part of the environmental picture. According the PayItGreen survey, if 20 percent of American households switched to paperless bills, statements and payments, more than 100 million gallons of gasoline would be saved, annually, and greenhouse gases emitted by delivery vehicles would be reduced. 

 

For more Information: 

Sign-Up for Aqua Online Billing

 

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Using Technology At Aqua

Aqua’s Pennsylvania region is executing an active water main renewal program that includes both replacement of water mains as well as cleaning and cement mortar lining of unlined cast iron pipe. In 2012 alone, the utility spent $259 million on infrastructure improvement projects in the state, including the replacement or cleaning and lining of 140 miles of aging water main. Such projects are critical to ensuring water quality, service reliability, and increasing firefighting capabilities.

After a public company partners with a private water system, one of the greatest challenges can be prioritizing a huge backlog of infrastructure improvement projects. In evaluating how to best accomplish this, Aqua Pennsylvania recognized that it needed to develop a more formalized and efficient approach to prioritizing renewal projects. To address this, Aqua Pennsylvania implemented two technology-based, information management initiatives in its Pennsylvania subsidiary. The first, Asset Information Management System (AIMS), is a web-based platform that allows employees to retrieve information on pipes, hydrants, main breaks, and customer taps. It also provides a link to more than 50,000 scanned images of construction as-built plans, providing "one-stop-shopping" for distribution system information.

A second information management system, geographic information system (GIS) allows users to visually retrieve and display much of the same information as AIMS using a map-based system. Weekly updated maps are generated from the GIS and are made available to users as Adobe PDF images via AIMS. In addition, simple viewers are created that provide a live view of the GIS database. The viewers are easy to use, do not require sophisticated training, and are deployed using free software.

With an insurmountable amount of data to work with in the region, AIMS and the GIS provide Aqua Pennsylvania with the tools needed to prioritize its water main renewal program effectively and efficiently. 

For more information: 

What is GIS?

Aqua Pennsylvania Receives Award Recognizing Its Sustainability Report and Environmental Efforts

 2013 Aqua Sustainability Report

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