Oct 10, 2013

#RefreshMKE: Save water, make money under new #Milwaukee @H2Oscore initiative via @conserve

Hey, Milwaukee: What is your H2O score?

Milwaukeeans can earn a dollar's worth of gift certificates at local stores by reducing their family's water use by 100 gallons from the previous year, through a new initiative. Drop water demand by 1,000 gallons, and earn $10 worth.

Residents and businesses in Milwaukee will be able to track their water use, review strategies to stop leaks, and save money, Milwaukee Water Works officials said Wednesday in announcing a partnership with H2Oscore.

The utility has contracted with the Milwaukee water technology start-up to provide customers with an online account they can use to find out their water use information and compare it with a neighborhood or citywide average, Water Works Superintendent Carrie Lewis said.

To protect privacy of all customers, an individual with an account will not be able to learn the water use of other specific addresses, Lewis said. A residential customer will be ranked in comparison with other homes within one quarter of a square mile.

The service also is available to residents and businesses in three communities — Greenfield, Hales Corners and St. Francis — that are retail customers of the Water Works.

Households reducing their water demand will become eligible for conservation rewards offered by participating businesses. Residents and businesses can sign up for an account, known as a dashboard, at the H2Oscore websitewww.h2oscore.com.

Conservation rewards provide positive feedback for residents seeking ways to cut water use, H2Oscore founder McGee Young said. He is an associate professor of political science at Marquette University.

Participants can connect to their dashboards with a smartphone or computer, Young said.

H2Oscore also will provide each account with a link to Milwaukee's Use Water Wisely website. The site advises customers on ways they can find and repair water leaks, and control costs.

Milwaukee paid H2Oscore $5,000 for a one-year contract, Lewis said.

In addition to Milwaukee, the company has contracts with Waukesha, Grafton and Whitewater. Madison will offer H2Oscore to its residents by the end of this year, Young said.

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