Engie Insight discusses the need for upgraded water strategy in the struggle for water sustainability
Engie Insight is a subsidiary of Engie, one of the largest independent power companies in the world.
Varun Gowda is the senior director for product and resource intelligence services and oversees products for energy, water, and waste offerings.
WWD Associate Editor Sara Myers spoke with Gowda about why corporations should integrate water management into sustainability strategies, the need for an upgraded water infrastructure, and the importance of data investment to help water usage.
Sara Myers: Why do you think corporations should integrate water management into their sustainability strategies?
Varun Gowda: Water has been an increased focus over the years for a couple of reasons. One, water expenses are now noticeable. Water is one of the highest rising utilities across the nation here [In the U.S.]. We're seeing the same trends in other parts of the word as well, but primarily in the North American region. For example, California and Texas have risen more than 100% in the last six to seven years. And, corporations are starting to take notice. The second piece is from a sustainability standpoint, when it comes to disclosure. I think increasingly more corporations are leading with that mindset. It is no longer green washing. Conservation of water really has a positive impact.
Myers: Do you think there is a need for an upgraded water infrastructure and why?
Gowda: A lot of businesses have started focusing on conservation and efficiency because that is often times the lowest hanging fruit. It is contained in that one bill that you get for an entire location from a utility. Often times that bill comes in and captures the last 30 days. So, what businesses are looking for is to upgrade the infrastructure they have with more real time understanding of how they're using water at a holistic level.
More importantly, they're all asking questions on, “Can I understand the breakdown of which parts of my operations are using water?” And it's no longer just about consumption, it's also about disposal. They want to understand how much of the water is being disposed, where at what times, and they want a more comprehensive view of that. That brings us back to what is driving the investments and infrastructure is really the focus on addressing those two aspects.
Myers: How important is data and investing in data to track efforts?
Gowda: I would say one consistent thing that we're noticing in the industry includes some of the existing customers and also the new customers. The industry as a whole is starting to recognize data is important, and they're starting to recognize that the industry as a whole has been focused on energy data for a while.
Data is crucial for two aspects. One, the disaggregated view of where you're consuming and what is contributing to disposal. It is not just aggregating a bill to understand what is the composition of your water use. Also, having more fidelity into that monthly consumption data. You want to understand and be able to correlate what your business operation cycle was looking like when you’ve had a high or a low period of a few seconds.