Digital metering feedback and changes in water consumption – A review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2018, 134 pp. 136 - 148
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Elsevier B.V. This review paper investigates the way information is provided to customers through the use of digital water metering and customer engagement, and its impact on water consumption. A review of 25 published detailed customer water-use information feedback studies was undertaken, along with interviews with five water utilities located internationally with practical experience in digital metering rollouts. The results of the review revealed mean savings across all the studies of 5.5%, within the 10th–90th-percentile envelope of 3.0%–8.0% savings (excluding the extreme outliers). The range of savings was found to vary across each of the various parameters investigated, with no single intervention approach clearly standing out as best practice. With large scale rollouts, for which little literature is available, it is typically difficult to attribute the savings to feedback programs alone, since other factors may have influenced the outcomes, and are difficult to account for or were not included in the literature. To better understand and evaluate the impact of a feedback program, and optimise its operation, a well-designed evaluation and related implementation plan should be considered in conjunction with a digital metering rollout. Discrete interventions should be monitored against a control group (or groups) to assess uptake, response and persistence over time (of both uptake and savings), in order to refine a program over the business case period.
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