City of Dubuque

Smarter Planet Leadership Series Video: Investing in sustainability for economic development now and in the future

Published on 18-Jan-2013

City of Dubuque, Iowa


Deployment country:
United States

Asset Management, Big Data & Analytics, BA - Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Cloud & Service Management, Development & Technology Adoption, IBM Research, Industry Framework , Information Integration, Service Management

Smarter Planet:
Leadership Series, Smarter Cities, Smarter Government, Smarter Water


City of Dubuque is a city of 60,000 citizens in the US state of Iowa. It was named the “most livable small city” in the country by the US Conference of Mayors in 2008. Dubuque has evolved into a major retail, medical, education and employment center with a strong commitment to innovation and citizen involvement.

How Accomplished:
The City of Dubuque was committed to reducing its impact on the environment while still delivering the services its residents needed. The city and its citizens had limited insight into their water consumption and management, and as a result the city struggled to reduce water costs and its overall consumption footprint. Without accurate information on resource distribution and consumption, and a way to enlist the help of its citizens, the city found it difficult to act on its commitment to sustainability and to alter citizen behavior.

Governments are increasingly striving to realize the economic as well as the environmental benefits that come from reducing energy and resource usage. To achieve these benefits, the City of Dubuque built a prototype platform for real-time sustainability monitoring that provides an integrated view of the city’s energy management. Monitoring water consumption every 15 minutes, the smarter meter system securely transmits that anonymous data along with information on weather, demographics and household characteristics to the cloud, where it is analyzed.

Lessons Learned:
Realizing that support from businesses was indispensable, Mayor Buol and the city council consistently positioned sustainability not as an edict from above, but as a team effort—with businesses as a big beneficiary. “Historically, businesses are not one of the first to get on board, thinking it will represent a new expense,” Buol says. “Our message [to local businesses] was that they can improve their bottom line by doing things in a different way.”

· Decreased water utilization during the pilot project by 89,090 gallons among 151 households over nine weeks—a 6.6 percent reduction · Anticipated aggregate annual community-wide water savings across 23,000 households to be 64,944,218 gallons, or US$190,936 · Increased water leak detection by participating citizens at a rate of 8 percent compared to 0.98 percent citywide, a 716 percent increase

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Cognos Business Intelligence, DB2 for Linux