Water customers will get ‘paid’ for study

The Clayton County Water Authority will select 1,000 customers to participate in a study that will help officials understand usage patterns, and be more efficient.

The randomly selected, single-family, residential customers will get a postcard this week letting them know they've been chosen to participate, said spokeswoman, Suzanne Brown. The survey will be mailed out Feb. 23. As an incentive to participate, the customers will get a $5 credit on their account.

Participation in the study will not impact the customer’s water service or water bill in any way, she said.

The authority’s water production manager, Guy Pihera, said history has shown the customer-based studies to be beneficial. “Water use patterns can vary significantly from county to county,” he said. “This survey will help us see how our residential customers use water inside, and outside of, their homes. These customers can play a vital role in helping shape a sensible water future by filling out and returning the survey.”

Brown said the water authority is participating in a North American study of single-family, residential water use sponsored by the Water Research Foundation. "The Foundation first conducted the study in 1999," she said. "The results from the 1999 study have been used since that time to help water utilities in the U.S. and Canada to ensure the long-term sustainability of our water supplies. Learning how customers use water is an essential part of planning for a safe, secure water future that considers both customer needs and the environment."

Pihera said the person most knowledgeable about the water fixtures in the home, and outdoor watering use, should complete the survey. When they are finished, the survey should be returned in the postage-paid envelope. National Research Center Inc., the research firm hired to help with this study, is collecting the survey responses.

In addition to the survey, Brown said, this study will also examine water flow through the meters of a random selection of single-family households. The research team will select 100 houses from Clayton County for this portion of the study. Customers will be notified if their home is selected.

"A field service technician from the project consulting firm, Aquacraft Inc., will attach a flow recorder to their water meter, sometime in the coming months," she said. "It will be located inside the water meter box and will be completely out of sight. There will be no water service interruption, and this will not affect their water bill."

After two weeks, the Aquacraft technician will return to pick up the recorder, and may also perform a brief visual inspection of the landscape to improve understanding of outdoor water use. CCWA Meter Services staff will accompany Aquacraft technicians when they install and remove the flow recorder, said Brown.

The data collected will be kept anonymous. The last question on the survey gives the customer the chance to opt out of this portion of the study. This is only the second time in 15 years that such a large residential water use study has been conducted. More information can be found on the project’s website at http://bit.ly/WaterRF4309.

Any customers selected to participate in the study, should call (770) 961-2130, if they have any questions, said Brown.