How a Startup Helps Put a Value on Water

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - California is in the fourth year of the worst drought in the state’s recorded history. A good part of the state is in “exceptional drought,” the worst category. Water conservation is a much talked about topic of conservation among Californians, and is even mandated by the state. Most folks want to conserve water, but not everyone knows exactly how they can do it, beyond ripping their lawns out and replacing them with drought tolerant plants. 

The conventional approach to water reduction is to shame big water users and give them a fine. That approach does not help put a value on water. McGee Young, CEO of the startup MeterHero, points out that criminal justice is not the best way to solve the water crisis. After the drought passes, it will be back to business as usual with no value put on water. 

How we value the water we use needs to be the focus of water reduction efforts, according to Young. “We can solve water scarcity,” he said. Even during a time of drought there can be enough water to provide for various needs. However, during a drought we can put more value on water. “The key is to make everyone understand their efforts do matter,” he added.

MeterHero has a simple approach to water conservation. The company offers people a chance to earn cash rebates through reducing monthly energy and water use compared to past usage. Simply put, MeterHero is a software company paying cash rebates to people who want to save water and energy. The rebates are funded by companies and organizations. 

How MeterHero specifically puts value on water is by looking up the last two years of a customer’s water bill. It helps people understand how much water they are using and compensates them for reducing their use. By using past water bills, MeterHero calculates savings. When customers choose to make changes to reduce energy and water use, they are paid rebates. In other words, they are incentivized to reduce their energy and water use. Or as Young told me, “We want to create value on water.”

Young explained that people are fairly intuitive about water scarcity, but they often have misinformation. He wanted to build something that it is a resource for people to take responsibility. MeterHero allows people to maximize the value of their water reduction efforts. It does not cast blame or make someone feel badly for using water. “It’s not bad to use water,” Young proclaimed. We all need water to live. They key is to use it wisely. 

Started in November, Young told me that the numbers for MeterHero have quadrupled over the last month. More people within the 45 states the company operates in are being incentivized to reduce their energy and water use.  As he said, “We’re a small startup, but what we have is a tool that provides an alternative to waiting around for the government to solve environmental problems.”

Photo: MeterHero