This intervention study conducted by ISF:UTS involved the provision of paper-based reports providing end-use feedback to a sample of households in Tea Gardens / Hawks Nest, NSW.
The 'Home Water Updates' contained customised feedback on the household's average use, comparative feedback, and end-use feedback in the form of a pie chart (i.e. a breakdown of usage between outdoors, shower, toilet, washing machine, taps, and leaks), end-use metrics (e.g. average shower duration, average number of toilet flushes per day), and customised water saving tips based on the household's highest end uses.
The study involved a mixed methods approach, so impacts were analysed using both the smart meter and end-use data as well as via evaluation surveys and interviews. A control group was used to quantify the impacts on consumption pre- and post-intervention.
The study found high levels of engagement and significant interest among householders in receiving paper reports providing end-use information. Householders valued receiving the reports, which enabled them to understand where water was being used in the home and to identify opportunities to save. Between 80-90% of the households found the information provided new, interesting, and easy to understand. Two-thirds were motivated by the detailed information and more than half reported that it had helped them to save water in the home. Interviewee comments included:
"I thought it was a really good idea...because [through the end-use metrics] you can tell where you're using more water and do something about it. I think it's of value to everybody".
"Definitely getting the breakdown on the Home Water Updates, that's a useful thing, as it shows where in the household we could actually possibly save water... All the information on the Home Water Updates was actually very useful".
"It's good to see where the water is going to. And probably it would be good to have that [pie] chart on our bill, if we could have it all the time".
"Anything that improves the management and people's knowledge can only be a benefit and the more information, and as long as it's information people can understand, the more information the better".
After receiving the Home Water Updates, 38% of households reported changing their behaviours to conserve water around the home and 10% reported installing more water-efficient appliances.