A recent project by UKWIR (UK Water Industry Research) has revealed that customer behaviour and choices are much more key to understanding household water use than socioeconomics and the weather.
With household water making up over half of the total demand for water, it is key for sustainability efforts to gain a better understanding of household water consumption. This is becoming particularly important as water is under increasing pressure from climate change and population growth – with droughts becoming more prevalent and water shortages affecting more people, the need to conserve water has never been greater.
Thanks to new metering technologies, we are able to gain a better understanding of household consumption habits and therefore a deeper understanding of water demand. This in the long run will help sustainability efforts as less water will be wasted as more people become conscious of their consumption habits.
The study by UKWIR showed that water consumption throughout the day is highly dynamic, with profiles of water usage varying from weekends to weekdays and further throughout the year. The project has also highlighted the importance of an affective water efficiency strategy for high users, as 10% of households used 25% of total water used.
Whilst learning more about consumption habits will aid in reducing water wastage, this project has also shown the difficulty in reducing water demand due to consumers’ varying habits. Andrew Ball, Technical Director at HR Wallingford states:
“The project’s outputs reflect the complexity of trying to calculate the various components of overall demand for water; this is not a case of one set of analysis and one magic quick fix that helps reduce demand at the tap and therefore abstractions from our natural environment.”
The project has aided in highlighting the need for a more dynamic solution in order to preserve water and the importance of monitoring consumption in order to better understand consumer habits.