Econics are water sustainability specialists. We work with provincial governments, local governments, utilities, and other organizations. We specialize in governance, policy, demand management, utility rate setting, community engagement and source protection.
Our WaterWorthTM software suite is a toolbox full of tools that we use to manage large amounts of data. We are like mechanics for water service providers. We look under the hood, find out what’s going on, and help our clients make informed decisions.
Because our services are standardized, we keep our costs low and our clients know exactly what they will get when they buy from us.
We provide services under three core themes: lasting supply, lasting revenue and lasting community support. Find out more below.
- Lasting Supply
Every community has its own reasons for needing to save water. In some cases, it is limited supply. In other cases, it is the need to reduce capital or operating costs. Sometimes there are environmental drivers – greenhouse gas reductions or sensitive receiving aquatic ecosystems, for example.
Drawing from experience with successful and acclaimed water conservation programs in Australia and North America, we help our clients evaluate, enhance and deliver their water conservation programs. We have grown to become among the preeminent service providers in the field, but we still manage to keep our costs low and our levels of service high.
Our work in demand management is driven by our “5E” Framework. We always look at the education, engineering, enforcement, encouragement and economics dimensions of the challenge. We come up with comprehensive and integrated solutions: it’s not just about engineering, and it’s not just about communications and marketing either.
To find out more about our internationally recognized demand management experience and services, click here.
- Lasting Revenue
Revenues are the lifeblood of water service providers. We have been helping municipalities set rates and forecast revenue for nearly a decade and we’ve learned a few things along the way.
Inevitably, communities have to pay for the equipment and services that store, treat and distribute water to our homes and businesses. If we fail to invest in our systems, deterioration of urban infrastructure and reliability problems will be the result.
The sustainable communities are those that are adopting principles of full cost recovery and looking long term. Moving to more effective water pricing and revenue management takes time. You need robust information to make the right decisions. You need to look at all costs including operations and maintenance, capital financing, asset renewal and infrastructure expansion. You need to determine the costs of service and fairly apportion them between customer categories. You need accurate predictions about how revenues are affected by adjustments to rates and by the effects of water conservation. You need to get the billing and community engagement process right to avoid customers rate shock and financial surprises down the road.
There are several steps along the way. We use our WaterWorth™ tools to do the heavy lifting of crunching all the numbers. This lets you explore multiple complex scenarios with ease.
To find out more about our water, sewer and storm pricing services, click here.
- Lasting Community Support
Having reliable and accurate information is important. So is careful planning. But, if you fail to communicate effectively with your community and to understand peoples’ interests and motivations, you will not be able to get everyone onboard with sustainability.
When it comes to communicating about rate changes and long term financial planning, our starting point is assuming that residents pay for their water services, so they have the right to understand how their costs are being shared out. We also know that there can be many myths and misunderstandings when it comes to the financing of municipal services. We work with our clients to turn complex data into easily understood information. We set up engagement processes where people feel like they have been involved.
When it comes to demand management, the challenges are just as complex. The success of a conservation program hinges on behaviour change. It is vital to understand what motivates people and what their barriers are to engaging in more sustainable water use habits. You also need to ensure that your marketing communication is compelling, targeted, useful, and cuts through the clutter.
To find out more about our community engagement and community-based social marketing services, click here.