5 questions to ask before adding a water manager

August 23, 2023 -  By
Now, more than ever, a water manager could have a major impact in your operations as water availability issues grow. (Photo: LandCare)

Now, more than ever, a water manager could have a major impact in your operations as water availability issues grow. (Photo: LandCare)

A Japanese proverb says, “In the struggle between the stone and water, in time, the water wins.”

In our industry, just like the proverb, water will win as well. I liken the stone, which is bound to lose, to the status quo in irrigation or the old way of doing things. Water is scarce, precious and becoming more expensive every day. Most importantly, our industry needs water to survive. Without water, we lose. We lose our beautiful landscapes, our way of life and our existence.

Many companies realize that water will win and seek to add a full-time water management professional to their leadership teams. But many others are on the fence and wonder if the time is right, among other questions.

Before we examine when and how to hire a water manager, let’s take a page out of author Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it,” Sinek writes. “And what you do simply proves what you believe.”

Chad Sutton

Chad Sutton

Here are my five whys of water management:

1. Why should you believe in water management?

The simple answer is that water is a precious resource and we shouldn’t squander it. Also, many clients demand proper water management. They’re fed up with the wasted money, property damage and the negative image that comes from wasting water. Very large clients have annual reports highlighting sustainability goals around water savings and need to find landscape leaders who can offer a high level of service. There are many reasons why having a water manager makes sense for many companies.

2. Who should lead the water management efforts?

Look to someone with the knowledge, experience, certifications, track record of success and who can tell a good story around water. They should also be personable, relatable and able to help your existing team learn and grow. Our account managers and production managers have too many demands to become an expert in all things, so a key to success is having the right person who can connect with the team and lead them in the right direction with water management.

3. What would a water manager do for us?

A few of the key services a water manager can spearhead are measuring sites, efficiency auditing, GIS (geographic information system), building water budgets, measuring water and control of water (MV/Flow), reporting on actuals vs. budgets, and upgrade or redesign proposals (such as switching to reclaimed water).

4. Where does it make sense?

Adding a water manager makes sense for operations anywhere in the country or world where the client base, regulatory challenges, climate, cost of water and other factors align to create the right opportunity.

5. When does it make sense?

It makes sense as soon as you see how a water manager will add great value to your operation. It also makes sense when a clear path to greater profitability is visible with this role, but even earlier if you believe water stewardship is a core part of your vision and beliefs as a company.

Deciding to add another team member can be difficult. Just like the rock, companies can try to resist the pressure of change, but in the end, water will win, and so will you if you choose to bring water management to your team.

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