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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Today's stream is sponsored by Maxie's

Save water, earn rewards with 'H2O Score'

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A local technology startup is making it easier for you to understand your water bill -- and use less as a result.

H20 Score translates household water usage data from city records into an easy-to-read dashboard, allowing anyone who receives a water bill in Milwaukee to track their use online.  

Then, users can see how their consumption compares to other homes within a quarter square-mile.

"We think a quarter square-mile is excellent because in Milwaukee that's about 100 homes," said co-founder Nathan Conroy.  "People understand rank out of 100."

Creating an account takes less than two minutes, and the website implements the same security standards commercial banks use, Conroy said.

Users can view average gallons used per day and see how their use compares to neighborhood and citywide averages.

The site also offers cash incentives for reducing consumption by partnering with local, sustainable businesses.  

In other words, if you save water, you can get a discount at local restaurants like Cafe HollanderLa Merenda, or Transfer Pizzaria.

"It's this virtuous cycle.  Do good at home, support businesses who are doing their part in the community, repeat," Conroy said.

H2O Score is free to use and only requires an email address to create and account.  Right now, only about 400 households are using the system.  Conroy is working with neighborhood associations and community groups to see that number increase.

Click the podcast player above to hear an interview with Conroy.