In places like the United States, we have access to more data than we ever know what to do with. We measure everything from what the average historical temperature is on a certain day for a city, to how good a restaurant is, to how much energy we consume. Because of this access, we base many of our critical decisions on this data (or at least that’s the hope). Essentially, because we have had access, we know how to use this data.
However, this isn’t the case everywhere.
Fact: Just because you have access to data, it does not guarantee that you will use it appropriately. Using it appropriately requires behavior change, something that, any person will tell you, is incredibly difficult.
This is the hard part about data — not the production of it, but the usage. This means that simply providing technology is not a solution. It is technology and the realization of the potential results that will produce meaningful change.
making data-driven decisions
This is similar to the situation water utilities are facing in India. There’s no real incentive to get good data, and it makes sense. They have many things to worry about — mainly, the reduction of non-revenue water. Data is tricky, because the results are more of the intangible kind. You need initial buy-in, and lots of time, in order to build your case for making data-driven decisions.
We know that these data-driven decisions will, in time, reduce non-revenue water, but it will take some time. And unfortunately, in a world that wants sexy solutions along with fast results, this does not come easily.
We’re hoping that in the future, other stakeholders will promote the acquisition of quality data, and will push the utilities to make data-driven decisions. From academics, to other government agencies, we see a need from other stakeholders to push this agenda and create this water data market for water utilities.
And when that happens, NextDrop will be there to provide that quality data to the utilities to help them become more efficient.