Assessing the efficiency of efficiency programs. Benchmarking on water conservation schemes.
With the growing trend of programs aimed to improve the efficiency of final water uses in urban areas, the main concern seems to be focused in general terms on the procedures and devices used and the absolute savings obtained in these efforts. However, above these issues, it is becoming of a greater importance to determine the actual success of these programs, and to which extent they represent valid alternatives to more traditional solutions. Regarding efficiency in water uses, there are no absolute references which can be used to measure the results, which naturally leads to comparisons between programs. Nevertheless, these comparisons are often carried out in a very rough and simplistic way, leading to wrong conclusions and false expectations in terms of potential savings. This paper explores the possibilities of applying the metric benchmarking fundamentals to the comparison of efficiency programs by means of a small system of performance indicators following the structure proposed by IWA. The establishment of adequate performance measures and an appropriate use of context information will allow setting the basis for truer comparisons and a better assessment of the success of the programs.