Wising Up to Water

With cities facing rising demand for water, along with variable supplies, water utilities are providing tailored advice to customers to modify their behavior towards water consumption.

Tailored information is highly personalized and specific with the advantage being that participants receive relevant information only, instead of getting an overload of general information, which may not always apply to their household. Tailored information can include water audits, information guides, and associated water-saving devices.

Wising up to water

In San Francisco, single-family residential demand is projected to increase by 45% between 2015 and 2040. In response, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has developed the Water-Wise Evaluation program for all water users. The program involves customers receiving a free site visit from an SFPUC water-efficiency specialist. The specialist will walk through the home and provide information on water use, point out potential water-saving measures, and help identify leaks that can reduce water and energy bills. Specifically, the specialist will:

  • Review the property’s billing history and discuss water reduction goals
  • Identify inefficiencies and test toilets for leaks
  • Provide free devices and materials that are applicable to the household, including water-efficient showerheads and faucet aerators
  • Determine the efficiency of water-using fixtures and appliances and provide information on how to make improvements
  • Provide tips for outdoor water use with a free water-wise gardening guidebook and free garden spray nozzle
SFPUC wising-up their customers to water conservation

SFPUC wising-up their customers to water conservation

Bits and Bobs

Anglian Water services the fastest growing region of the UK and will face variable weather in the future. As part of Anglian Water’s drive to reduce water consumption by 20 liters per day, the utility has initiated its Bits and Bobs program that involves free water-saving home visits that include the distribution of free water-saving devices. During the visit, a member of the utility will provide homeowners with water saving advice as well as fit water-saving products where possible. Some of the free items include:

  • A dual flush converter that helps reduce the volume of water used with each flush by up to 50%
  • Tap inserts for around the house
  • Eco Pulse shower head that achieves the temperature and powerful flow of traditional shower heads with only 40-60% of the water supply by creating tiny gaps between droplets

The take-out

One-on-one conservation advice cuts through the clutter of generic messages.

*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley), The Green Economy and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus (Palgrave Macmillan), and of the forthcoming title Blue and Green Cities (Palgrave Macmillan). He is Founder of Mitidaption, which consults on climate change risks to business, governance, and society.

Facebook: @UrbanH20

Twitter: @Mitidaption


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Author: Robert C. Brears

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