Isabel Schestak is our life cycle assessment researcher from the Bangor team and she attended the Annual Waterwise Conference 2018 in London on the 6th of March. Waterwise is a non-profit organisation supporting “everyone in the UK aiming at a high water efficiency” and despite being a very young organisation they have the right to call themselves a UK water efficiency expert. The conference provided a platform for stakeholders throughout the water sector to exchange their experiences for strategies to save water. For instance, what does the best campaign look like to engage with costumers and change their behaviour?
Some of the take home information regarding approaches to efficiency from the conference included:
- Thames Water has visited more than 150,000 households in person over the last three years, installing meters and informing homeowners about water saving measures.
- Scottish Water is distributing water saving packages (comprising of items such as aerated showerheads or shower timers) to support homes in reducing their water bill.
- Southern Water reported a 16% reduction in water consumption due to metering which helps them to reach the consumption target of 100 litres per person per day (l/p/d) set for 2040 (current average water usage in the UK is around 140-150 l/p/d).
- Affinity Water runs a campaign enabling exchange between costumers on their water use habits through social media to raise awareness especially amongst young users.
- Doug Clark (Severn Trent water) suggested to follow the Australian example and introduce a water label for water using appliances comparable to the energy efficiency label.
A big question mark remained on how to drive industry towards a more efficient water use as existing incentivising programs failed to result in substantial uptake by companies. Nevertheless, good examples exist: the water retailers Business Stream and water2business are offering consultancy and carrying out installations for their non-household costumers to maximise water efficiency. Stephen Sheridan from Business Stream said that investments usually pay themselves back relatively quickly, but also emphasized the need for regulatory pressure on retailers to deliver water efficiency measures.
Thanks to the Waterwise team for organising this informative and inspiring day!