The Issue at Atlantis

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is an 824-room, AAA Four-Diamond resort destination in Reno, Nevada. At Atlantis, sustainability is an important initiative and water conservation is a key part of the sustainability strategy to reduce environmental impacts. Water is at a premium in Nevada because we are in the desert, said Perry Sanders, director of facilities for Monarch Casino & Resort Inc., which owns and operates the Atlantis.

Large hotels and casinos like Atlantis (Atlantis is nearly 1 million square feet) are complex facilities that require water use for many different functions from irrigation, cooling, and plumbing to restaurants, spas, and pools. By simply monitoring monthly water use data from invoices, facilities are not able to easily identify areas for increased efficiency or take action in time to address water waste events. Atlantis was looking for a solution that would help them increase water efficiency, reduce water waste events, prevent future water leaks and save money.

The Solution

Atlantis looked to WINT Water Intelligence as the solution to address their issue, thanks to an introduction from WaterStart. WINT is a water-management technology company founded in Tel Aviv in 2012. After WaterStart introduced WINT and Atlantis, the three organizations walked the facility together and it was agreed that there were likely some big opportunities for water reductions, risk mitigation, and cost savings.

According to WINT CEO, Guy Vachtel, WINT is solving problems categorized in three buckets. The first problem being addressed is preventing water leak damage, which can be a costly problem for facilities that rely on heavy water use and are unable to quickly identify and address water leaks. The ability to prevent these damages is critical as they can contribute to business disruptions and an increase in insurance premiums. The second issue is water sustainability. Companies are looking at reducing consumption and saving water as part of their larger corporate sustainability strategy. ‘We are seeing customers coming to us that are looking to reduce 20-25% water use in a short period of time and WINT is able to help consumers accomplish this with our solution, said Vachtel. The third issue being addressed is the ability to monitor and analyze water consumption across facilities. Monitoring and analyzing helps to identify waste and analyze usage patterns through data-driven analytics. WINT is helping consumers get control of their water usage and even providing the ability to remotely shut off valves in some locations.

In the weeks after installation of the WINT technology, the meters track water flows and establish usage patterns for various functions across a building. After the baselines are established, the system will analyze facility water usage in real-time. When WINT detects a break in the water patterns that signify a leak or water waste event, alerts will be automatically sent to the building maintenance staff’s smartphones with the location of the problem. The facility staff can then investigate those areas to identify the problem. The system also can be programmed to automatically shut off water supplies. For instance, if a Jacuzzi or pool isn’t filling properly because the system determines there’s a leak, it will automatically turn off the water.

There are other solutions on the market that might be less costly because they’re just measuring the water flow, but the WINT technology has capabilities that go beyond this. As a smart system that uses data analytics, this system has the ability to create a detailed profile of the consumer’s water usage and provide close to zero false-positive alerts when detecting water waste events. “This is kind of the beauty behind the technology of what we are doing,” said Guy of WINT. “With the analytics, we are able to look at the pipe and tell you the water is coming from someone flushing the toilet, someone is washing their hands right now and the cooling tower is also running.” The technology will create the signature of each water use within the building which can be identified and monitored even if it’s happening in parallel to other consumption.

Results of the Pilot

24 WINT units were installed in various locations of the Atlantis facility to provide monitoring of different areas and water-using functions throughout the hotel. WINT conducted a walk-through of the facility with Atlantis to understand potential problem areas for water use, understand their concerns, and were throughout the hotel they would like to monitor. Atlantis decided they would like to monitor the cooling towers, the spa, the cafeteria, ten restaurants, and various hot and cold water uses.

The pilot went well, according to Dave Hiday, corporate director of energy and sustainability at Atlantis. We found areas where we could save significant amounts of water. Atlantis learned during the pilot that they had abnormal consumption of water in multiple areas.

After one year of installing the WINT technology, the facility achieved a 15% in water reduction. These reductions were realized from a mix of identifying water leaks and implementing new practices and behaviors to reduce water. Most of the savings came from addressing the various water leaks that were identified. There were a number of cases where the WINT technology identified a pipe break, which was unknown to the operations team because the pipes were hidden.

Shortly after the system was installed the operations team received an alert that there was a pipe burst near the spa. The maintenance staff inspected the area but found nothing. The Atlantis team contacted WINT thinking it was a false alert. The WINT staff explained that the data was suggesting a leak and that the damaged pipe appeared to be located behind a wall. The maintenance staff went back to the spa, broke through the wall, and noticed a large leak that was leading to gushing water. Because the pipe was located near a drain, it was invisible to anyone on the other side of the wall. Without the use of the WINT technology, leaks like this would have gone unnoticed for quite some time leading to wasted water and wasted money. The Atlantis team says there were several other instances like this that they have addressed since installing the technology.

They also quickly identified a number of restaurants and cafes that had significantly different water usage patterns and levels. After investigating, the management team instructed the employees on the ground to change some practices and behaviors based on what they were seeing in some of the higher water-using restaurants and cafes. For example, a dipper well is used in one of the cafes to clean the ice cream scoopers. They quickly noticed that these dipper wells were being left to slowly run all day, even when they weren’t being. The employees were instructed to only run the dipper when it was needed, leading to large water savings. Hiday says, ‘Nobody even considers how much a dipper well uses. That’s just water running down a drain, basically filling up a cup that you put an ice cream scoop in. There were large savings there.’

According to Hiday, We identified these patterns of behavior and were able to put a price on it. The management team was then motivated to instruct the employees to change their practices around the dipper wells and other areas to reduce a good amount of water.

In addition to the alerts, WINT sends Atlantis monthly reports on water usage showing consumption patterns over time, by location, and how much the company is paying for that water each hour. This data can then be used to adjust the facility’s operations. For instance, according to Perry Sanders at Atlantis, ‘The report picked up how much it costs to supply certain operations with water during the day and allowed it to make adjustments, such as doing more laundry at night, when costs are lower.


Monthly water consumption at Atlantis was approximately 6.5 million gallons per month before the pilot. The operations team at Atlantis had a goal of reducing overall water use by 10% through the implementation of the WINT technology. After running the pilot for 12 months, the facility realized approximately 15% reduction in water use across the facility. Atlantis spent $48,000 for the system, which some matching funds from WaterStart, and realized savings of approximately $36,000 in the first year.

Continued Adoption

Atlantis is now upgrading their meters and putting a permanent power source on them. Atlantis is also installing more meters tied to the Wint technology in an attempt to monitor and reduce water use within their irrigation system and their fountains. It is very typical in drip irrigation systems to have emitters pop off and water leaks go unnoticed, so the company is hoping to find abnormal landscaping watering issues.

‘Where we can be sustainable, we really try’, said Hiday. ‘We’ve done some initiatives with our HVAC systems, with our electrical systems, and with our water systems. We have fountains out in the front of the building that uses a good amount of water and that’s one of the systems we’re going to put the meters and the Wint technology on to look into any abnormal water flow issues to the fountains and understand the associated usage.’

The owner of Atlantis Casino, Monarch Inc., is currently working on the completion of another large hotel in Black Hawk, Colorado and they have recently signed an agreement to have the WINT system installed in this facility as well.

About WINT

WINT is a passionate clean-tech company with an intelligent IoT real-time water monitoring and conservation solution. The technology empowers multifamily and commercial portfolios to optimize water efficiency, cut costs, and protect water damage, through advanced machine learning and AI. WINT monitors water usage 24x7x365 and detects abnormal water usage patterns, such as leaks and excessive consumption, and alerts the end-user with the details of the problem through a state-of-the-art cloud-based dashboard and alerting systems.


The Issue Facing Bellagio Hotel

The Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas strip has been interested in getting a clearer understanding of the hotel’s water use in different applications and learn where there might be opportunities to eliminate water waste throughout their operations.

Facility managers, water experts, and sustainability professionals alike will tell you that it is nearly impossible for large organizations to have a good understanding of where they are wasting water without the right technology. “It’s invisible”, says Nate Allen, executive director of WaterStart. “It’s hard to tell but I think facility operators and facility managers have a sense. There is a feeling or sense of  ‘Oh my gosh, we should’ve known that.'”

The Bellagio has partnered with a water tech company, APANA, to address this issue. APANA is applying its water management system technology at the Bellagio, working with the property owner and operator, MGM Resorts International, to examine patterns of water use and identify any hidden water waste in a pilot project involving the site and its prominent fountains. Allen credited MGM’s corporate office for the work they have done so far to ensure water conservation at their Southern Nevada properties. He said that type of foresight allowed the corporation to see how significant this project with APANA could be.

MGM joined WaterStart because they have done a lot of the low-hanging fruit in water conservation. They’ve reduced their turf in all of their facilities. “They’ve done a lot of work,” he said. “The resorts want to go even further because they understand how important water is to their business.”

Result of Pilot

The pilot project, a partnership between Apana, MGM, the SNWA, and WaterStart, is using Apana’s scanning and analysis technology to locate any points of water waste or concerning patterns of water usage at selected points within the Bellagio’s massive infrastructure. Such scans will allow Bellagio to tweak its water use and note which, if any, points within its system are prone to water waste.

“This project represents a significant partnership on the frontier of technology incubation and development,” said Kent Sovocool, Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) senior conservation resource analyst. “High-end resorts like MGM’s Bellagio hotel are great candidates for testing new technologies. They have very large and complex systems that can otherwise be challenging to monitor.”

President of APANA, Tom Doll, added that almost every project the company has been involved in has “uncovered some very interesting results.” For instance, after connecting for a very short time with one client, Apana located a malfunction that caused a 1,200 gallon per day loss in a hot water line.

Results have shown:

  • Identified operational process improvements & real-time notifications
  • Reduced pool water consumption by ~37%
  • Resulted in annual savings of 900 MMBtu from reduced heating requirements
  • Resulted in annual savings of over 35,000 kWh

Importance for Bellagio, Southern Nevada and Beyond

“With smart water management, and the MGM Resorts/Bellagio project specifically, Apana expects to see real reductions in water waste and gains in water conservation, due to the awareness enabled by real-time measurement,” said Doll. “We anticipate all commercial and industrial buildings will be utilizing the new tools smart water management provides in the next 5 to 10 years and applaud WaterStart and the Southern Nevada Water Authority for taking a leadership role in this nascent industry.”

Insight into local companies’ water behavior and usage will allow the water authority to better tailor incentives to businesses. The partnership with the Bellagio will be the first time the SNWA will have access to such detailed information about a resort’s water utilization. Such knowledge is expected to help the organization answer questions about the most efficient and cost-effective relevant water conservation techniques for big local businesses.

“The first question is ‘Where would we get the most return??’ It was hard to really answer that question without any data,” Nate Allen said. “Most of the resorts in Las Vegas have one or two meters, and they’re the meters from the water district to calculate billing.”

The SNWA is particularly interested in assessing the inefficiency of water cooling towers, and they will have the chance to observe Bellagio’s data to measure the effectiveness of those devices through this pilot. “We’ll get great insight into how water is used in resort operations from hot water systems and restaurants to cooling towers, pools, and water features. The information we get from the pilot program and high-resolution monitoring could help inform future conservation program offerings or uncover opportunities to improve efficiencies and response times to leaks,” said Sovocool.

Although the Las Vegas Strip uses just about 1 percent of the water Nevada receives from the Colorado River, maximizing the efficiency of that 1 percent helps to sustain the region and could provide insight into other water use. The pilot project is the first attempt by the SNWA to build a set of trace use analytics for this customer class. “The technology could be widely utilized,” Allen said. “It’s a really cool partnership that has the potential to have a great impact.”

About the APANA Technology

Apana is often looking for what can’t be seen. Tucked behind walls or under roads, water infrastructure is often hidden, meaning everything from small flaws to larger malfunctions can go unseen without frequent monitoring.

Using smart Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, APANA technology captures high-resolution data from across an organization’s water infrastructure which is then sent to APANA’s secure, cloud-hosted analytics engine. Incoming data is constantly read by advanced proprietary analytics. The system looks for patterns and discrepancies across 1000’s of potential failure points to pinpoint waste events. Waste is identified in hidden equipment malfunctions, or in plain sight, like hoses left running or excess shift use. When waste events are identified, staff and managers are sent instant, actionable alerts.

Apana President Tom Doll, who jokingly describes the company as a 20-something-year-old startup, said that the business initially began its work as a wastewater treatment company. However, founder Frank Burns believed there was inherent waste in the built wastewater environment that, if remedied, could contribute to resource conservation. “There are things we can be doing today that will build capacity for tomorrow,” Doll said. “It’s one of the reasons that we are passionate about the things that we do.”

Apana and MGM won WaterStart’s 2019 Channels for Innovation Best Pilot Pitch Award!