Online water-use feedback: household user interest, savings and implications

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Journal Article
Urban Water Journal, 2017, 14 (9), pp. 900 - 907
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This paper reports on the short- and long-term impacts of online water-use feedback provided via a smart metering trial involving 120 households in New South Wales, Australia. Near-real time water consumption feedback was provided via an online portal to half of the sample. Water consumption was uniquely analysed one year pre- and post-intervention, and in conjunction with login data. During one year of available access, the intervention group saved an overall average of 24.1 litres per household per day (L/hh/d) (4.2%). Regression analysis showed the significant savings of active users related specifically to portal login activity. Significant short-term effects persisted for 42 days, averaging at 63.1 L/hh/d. The article discusses the implications for research and practice, including a consideration of how, in addition to providing ongoing access, online portals could be leveraged further by water authorities to help meet urgent short-term supply constraints such as in drought.
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