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Shahram Javey : Aquacue Barnacle

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Aquacue Barnacle

Aquacue: A start-up company that delivers water use efficiency to people who care about leak detection, going green, and reducing their water bill.

An estimated 349 billion gallons of freshwater are withdrawn per day in the United States, according to 2005 data from the USGS. Of this, 3.8 billion gallons are used for domestic purposes. The national average per capita water consumption is roughly 98 gallons per day for indoor and outdoor usage, though the average is significantly higher in the Mountain and Western states—regions with relatively low rainfall and frequent drought conditions.

THE PROBLEM

Although water shortages are often addressed through conservation campaigns directed at businesses, house- holds, and individuals, the typical person has no idea about how much water they use, and there’s no easy, direct link between their habits and their consumption. The only feedback consumers receive about their water usage comes in the form of water bills, which arrive monthly or bimonthly, and that tend to report consumption data in obscure units—not in gallons. Another major area of consumer water management is leaks. An estimated 12 percent of residential water consumption is lost to leaks and, on average, broken pipes and other types of leaks account for 30 percent of home insurance claims.

THE INNOVATION

Aquacue’s patent-pending “Barnacle” physically attaches to existing magnetically-coupled water meters, and enables consumption data to be captured in 10-second intervals and transmitted via existing cellular networks. Consumption information then becomes available online to the customer through a software interface that provides feedback about cumulative daily water consumption, as well as consumption from the previous day, week, and month, and compares these to community averages. Pilot studies have shown that this innovation can cut residential water consumption by 8-26%, depending on the time of year, and save even more through early leak detection.

“Aquacue can detect water system leaks and consumption profiles that are undetectable with today’s water measurement practices. There is no reason that water management should remain in the 20th century’s analog world when the 21st century is digital. Data capture, data visualization and consumer tools to manage their water solution are the future..” —Shahram Javey, Founder, Aquacue

THE VISION

Aquacue’s approach to market segmentation is to focus on addressing four key issues that are important to consumers: Monetary savings; going green; the need for quick and easy-access reports of usage at the municipal or utility level; and leak detection. While they are currently focusing on agriculture, institutions, and utilities— large-scale consumers of water—Aquacue sees opportunity in the future to develop a consumer product.

“By bringing water informatics inexpensively and rapidly into the 21st century, the Aquacue solution can significantly improve water use efficiency at the individual, institutional, state, regional, national and even global scale. Aquacue can create a “Prius Generation” of water consumers.” —Shahram Javey, Founder, Aquacue
The next steps for Aquacue involve acquiring funding to continue testing the devices in various situations, and forming strategic relationships with partners like communications carriers and manufacturers in order to bring down production and operations costs.