I am an environmental fluid mechanics and hydrology engineer currently pursuing my masters degree at Stanford University. I work on the intersection of data science and water hydraulics to create intelligent statistical models. Apart from my course curriculum, I also pursue research in eco-hydrology remote sensing as a research assistant. Thanks to the long commute to work, I am catching up on my reading. I am currently reading Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.
I'm a 21 year old student, currently studying at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. I just finished my third year there, with one more to go before I graduate. I'm here in San Francisco from mid June-Early September as an intern here at Valor.
I’m a 25 year old student from Norway. I’m currently part of an exchange program at UC Berkeley in coordination with my school in Norway, The Norwegian School of Economics. The program is called Innovation School and is the perfect excuse for spending the summer in San Francisco. I spend one day a week at UC Berkeley and four days here at Valor. So the main part of the program is gaining experience from working in San Francisco which has been, and is, awesome.
Hi, I’m Alex! I’m going into my third year at UC Berkeley, where I study computer science. I’m originally from Novi, Michigan, where I was born and raised until I moved out for college. I’m currently working full time as a software engineering intern for Valor, which is about a 45 minute commute from my apartment from Berkeley. I’m super excited about working hard, seeing the city, and enjoying the weather.
Data has become part of the way we tell stories today. Online articles use maps and graphs to add a splash to their stories because, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. And it’s true - a well thought out data visualization can convey much more information than just a description, and let the viewer draw their own conclusions about the information. The difference between a clear positive trend and a potentially coincidental trend is instantly recognizable on a graph. Dashboards take graphs even further by adding organization and interactivity. The best dashboard helps you continuously monitor whatever your pain points are while giving you the power to explore your data visually as freely as possible.
In order to take water utilities further into the future, better technology is needed. Valor Water Analytics’ dashboards put vital information at the fingertips of the decision-makers at utilities, so that they can start to make actionable decisions based on their data.
I graduated with a degree in MS in Electrical Engineering from Santa Clara University CA in December 2016. I went to Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur, India for my undergraduate program in Electrical Engineering. During the MS program where I was specializing in VLSI Design & Testing, I discovered my love for programming!! To enhance my knowledge and to learn the required skills to be a skilled software developer, I took severalcourses on Coursera, Udacity and Udemy.
So, I’ve been thinking about broken meters quite a bit lately (and, when I say “broken meter,” I’m referring to all sorts of different issues--under-registration, non-registration, decay, stuck meters, zero reads, etc.). Every day, as I talk to municipalities and water agencies around California and around the country, broken meters are a topic of universal importance and concern. Everyone’s got ‘em, and everyone is trying to get rid of ‘em. And, broken meters don’t just go away when you fix them...they are a recurring problem which occur year after year after year...
Broken meters, significantly impact water utilities. They leave revenue uncollected, they impact revenue stability, they make compliance difficult, they result in truck rolls, they impact conservation efforts. The list goes on.
In the beginning -- that is, before HD television -- there was standard definition television. Back then, nobody complained much about the quality of the image. In reality, the reason why people didn't make a fuss was that they didn't know what they were missing out on. The same goes for the transition from cassette tapes to CDs and a host of other evolutionary enhancements in audio/visual quality over the years. Ignorance is bliss.
“What keeps you up at night?” This was a question posed to George Hawkins (GM at DC Water), at a recent water conference. He promptly replied “Figuring out how to keep providing water to my growing population of low-income customers”. Later that week, a colleague mentioned her displeasure at having her water cutoff because of a system error. She had paid her active utility service deposit, had no history of nonpayment and was still cutoff without notice. Guilty until proven innocent!
I think about apparent water loss every day, but not every water utility professional does. In this short blog, I list and discuss 5 reasons all water utility engineers should care about apparent water loss. Drop me a line and let me know if you agree at [email protected].
Here in California, the mention of BMPs (Best Management Practices) to any water utility practitioner brings a look of frustration, and perhaps fear. This may be due to the use of BMPs by the state to promote certain practices in water conservation, rate making, and more. This may explain why while attending a water utility data conference at Stanford a few weeks ago, a wholesale water engineer proposed the idea of Water Utility Data BMPs, and this got a chuckle from the audience.
The water industry is undergoing a fascinating transition, with more water utilities having to combat scarcity challenges and more customers requiring knowledge of their consumption patterns and working collaboratively to change behavior. William Doherty - Valor Regional sales lead, shares his insights on the water industry and Valor culture.
There is a lot of talk about Big Data these days, and if you are anywhere near Silicon Valley, it is more like a deafening roar. As important and difficult as Big Data is, we are also working to solve challenges of a different sort that gets relatively little attention: what we call Diverse Data. The key distinction between Big Data and Diverse Data is how structurally similar one piece of data is to another.
In February 2016, The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted Decision 15-09-023 which provides a set of analytical tools to quantify the benefits of water savings. The purpose of one of the tools, the water energy nexus calculator is to enable the CPUC, Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs), and other stakeholders to quantify and capture ‘embedded energy’ savings stemming from water conservation programs. In a follow-on decision, the CPUC issued Assigned Commissioner’s Ruling Regarding Advanced Meter Infrastructure Pilot Proposals and Setting Workshop (November 20, 2015).
The Columbia Water Center hosted its third annual national workshop on the future of water in America. This year’s event, America’s Water: Innovation at Work, focused on three prominent themes facing water in America today – water infrastructure, financing water projects and the future of water utilities.
Valor Water Analytics recently built Non Residential Customer Sales Dashboards for four utilities in North Carolina. Read about the project’s Plateau Analysis and how these utilities are putting findings into action on project partner University of North Carolina’s Environmental Finance Center blog, here: When Big Customers Make Big Changes.
On November 4, 2014, California voters overwhelmingly approved Assembly Bill 1471, Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, more commonly known as Proposition 1 or the Water Bond. This bill unlocked $7.12 billion in bond funds to pay for water projects throughout the state. Many aspects of the bill were written in rather general language, and this and subsequent pieces aim to unravel key elements of the bill.
“Whether your utility is in a boom or a bust, a drought or a deluge, is expanding or contracting—customer water use patterns are changing and it’s the responsibility of water utilities to respond to this change.”
That was Valor Water Analytics’ President Dr. Christine Boyle during her keynote remarks at the First Annual Esri Water Conference. Dr. Boyle used the platform to convey the urgency for utilities to develop a deeper understanding of changing customer water use patterns in order to proactively plan for capital and water resource needs.
California Governor Jerry Brown recently imposed mandatory water restrictions to combat severe drought that “demands unprecedented action.” Many investors have grown familiar with the global trends changing in the way water is supplied, transported, treated and used. Those mega-trends, however, have not translated into much action from the venture community.
Today we have a great episode on an important topic: water. It’s one of the biggest problems we face as a society, especially with many regions experiencing drought. Joining Jason is Christine Boyle, founder of Valor Water Analytics, who tracks and finds the biggest culprit of our broken system — waste. Poor data, faulty pipes, leaks and loss run amok! Christine explains the tools she’s developed, with a 60%-2000% ROI, that focus on conservation and process efficiency rather than drastic, unrealistic measures.
Valor Water’s Water Rate Simulator has been pre- selected as a grant-qualified vendor for water utilities to model Budget-based Rates, run weather and economic scenarios, and forecast demand under new rate structures. Valor’s rate setting tools also includes Cost of Service assessment tools for a comprehensive and Prop 218 compliant rate setting solution.
As the Real Median Household graph shows (Fig. 1), there has been a huge drop in real median household income in the past decade, which started even before the onset of the Great Recession in 2008. However, Figure 2 shows lower unemployment rates in recent years. Yet, when you consider both graphs together, they seem to contradict each other. Because if unemployment goes down, household income must go up, right? Not necessarily. In the real economy, the story is much more complex.