Energy & Environment Lab Can Lower Fines Create Water Savings For Fresno Residents? Study Hopes To Find Out
The Fresno Bee
By Tim Sheehan
More than 100,000 Fresno homes will be part of a "groundbreaking" and "novel" three-month research study to see whether easing up on water restrictions and reducing fines for excessive water use will actually spur greater conservation by residents.
The University of Chicago's Energy and Environment Lab is working with the city's Public Utilities Department on the summer pilot project. It involves a detailed study of real-time water use data from residential water meters coupled with different sets of conservation thresholds and penalties to see if there is a "sweet spot" that results in the highest level of compliance.
The Fresno City Council approved the experiment on a 5-2 vote on Thursday.
"The whole point of this pilot study is to gather information about how our customers use water in the city … and make better informed policy decisions going forward," said Michael Carbajal, interim assistant director of utilities . "It might even result in lower fines in the future."