Consortium of Texas universities, water utilities launch R&D water conservation effort
A newly-formed consortium of universities and water providers in the state of Texas has announced that it is launching a statewide research and development effort focused on water conservation technologies.
AUSTIN, TEXAS, April 9, 2015 -- A newly-formed consortium of universities and water providers in the state of Texas has announced that it is launching a statewide research and development (R&D) effort focused on water conservation technologies. The effort includes a commercialization lab focused on promising emerging technologies, a water technologies incubator and a statewide research testbed involving hundreds of Texas households.
The University Municipal Water Consortium is a joint effort of over 25 Texas state, regional and local water providers and university researchers from Texas A&M, UT-Austin and UT-San Antonio. Its focus on municipal water use is driven by estimates from the Texas Water Development Board that urban water use in Texas is growing nine times faster than all other water uses combined.
"Growing populations and drought are threatening water supplies from California to Florida," said Pecan Street CEO Brewster McCracken. "Our members have joined together to develop and test promising hardware and software solutions so we can ensure that utilities, communities and customers have access to data-driven information and cost-effective innovations."
The consortium will carry out research testbed and lab testing assets as well as third-party testing and customer field trials of water supply and demand products and behavioral tools. Special attention will be placed on measuring and verifying the efficacy of various conservation solutions -- from leak detection technology to public conservation messages and tactics.
Funding for the consortium's R&D includes a $4-million Subchapter-E matching fund grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. In addition to the ETF award, the consortium has received financial and equipment support from technology firms including Dell, Intel, 3M, Landis + Gyr (Toshiba), LG, NRG, Nest Labs, Shell, Schneider, OneGas, PARC (Xerox), Siemens, Freescale, and WaterSmart.
The consortium is led by UT-Austin-based Pecan Street Inc. Founded in 2009 through seed funding from UT-Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering, Pecan Street is an independent nonprofit institute focused on the utility sectors. It conducts consumer energy use and connected-home product testing in 10 states, and it uses anonymized data from this work to support university research and commercialization at over 50 universities in 12 nations, including Prairie View A&M, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UT-Arlington, UT-Austin and UTSA.
About Pecan Street
Located at The University of Texas at Austin, Pecan Street provides university researchers, utilities and technology companies with access to the world's best original data on consumer energy and water consumption behavior, testing and verification of technology solutions, and commercialization services. Its network of over 1,200 research volunteers is the first of its kind on the planet. Its anonymized research database -- the largest source of disaggregated customer energy data -- is used by university researchers and industry-leading companies around the world. For more information, visit www.pecanstreet.org.