Urban water conservation through customised water and end-use information

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Cleaner Production, 2016, 112 pp. 3164 - 3175
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Water conservation in urban centres is an ongoing challenge in which new technologies can play an important role. Smart water metering in conjunction with end-use analysis enables the collection of more detailed information on household water consumption than was previously possible. This presents a new and currently underexplored opportunity to promote more efficient water use via the provision of detailed customised water-use information to householders. Among the variety of possible approaches, is the option of paper-based reports containing a highly detailed 'snapshot' of household water use. This paper describes a mixed methods study in which customised paper-based 'Home Water Updates' were provided to a group of households in Australia to explore the idea of providing detailed feedback, including detailed end-use consumption information on uses of water within the home. The methods used within this research are described in detail to disseminate experience in this relatively new area of research. Analysis of the post-intervention householder evaluation survey showed the provision of detailed water-use information via the Home Water Updates appealed to the vast majority of householders; and further resulted in changed behaviours (e.g. shorter showers and full washing machine loads) and installations of new infrastructure. These research findings suggest a role for customised household water and end-use information via smart metering. However, more work is required to optimise approaches to enable a significant contribution towards more sustainable urban water management.
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