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The two feedback studies explored the role for smart water metering technology in providing access to detailed water-use information to household consumers. Both trials reported water consumption saving effects, concrete behaviour changes, changes in household water-using appliances and improvements in awareness of water use. Detailed results from both trials are presented in Table 2. The results demonstrate that smart water metering has a positive impact to play in terms of water conservation, corroborating other results (Erickson et al. 2012; Fielding et al. 2013), and suggesting that advanced feedback can yield a variety of benefits that can contribute towards a more sustainable consumption of water resources.

Table 2

Impact evaluation

ImpactHWU – paper-based end-use breakdownMHOW – online total water use (near) real-time
Program reach (i.e. % receiving the HWUs; or % that logged on to the MHOW portal, respectively) 100% 30% 
Reported awareness (i.e. % agreeing or strongly agreeing to having):   
  • Awareness of their household's water use

 
86% 73% 
  • Awareness of their household's end-uses of water

 
82% 82% 
  • Awareness of their household's highest use of water

 
100% 91% 
  • The feeling of being informed about their water use

 
91% 91% 
Behaviour change (% reporting changes) 38% 50% 
Water-using infrastructure changes (% reporting changes in terms of): 10% 33% 
  • Efficient shower heads

 
  • Water-efficient toilets

 
  • Water-efficient washing machines

 
  • Leak repairs

 
Appeal (i.e. % that found the information interesting) 80%–90% 90% 
Water consumption savings (intervention group relative to the control group) 8%* 4.2% 
Willingness to pay in Australian Dollars (AUD) (per HWU report; or for 1 year's access to the MHOW portal, respectively):   
  • Average

 
AUD 2.50 AUD 5.75 
  • Range

 
AUD 0.50–AUD 10.00 AUD 1.00–AUD 20.00 
ImpactHWU – paper-based end-use breakdownMHOW – online total water use (near) real-time
Program reach (i.e. % receiving the HWUs; or % that logged on to the MHOW portal, respectively) 100% 30% 
Reported awareness (i.e. % agreeing or strongly agreeing to having):   
  • Awareness of their household's water use

 
86% 73% 
  • Awareness of their household's end-uses of water

 
82% 82% 
  • Awareness of their household's highest use of water

 
100% 91% 
  • The feeling of being informed about their water use

 
91% 91% 
Behaviour change (% reporting changes) 38% 50% 
Water-using infrastructure changes (% reporting changes in terms of): 10% 33% 
  • Efficient shower heads

 
  • Water-efficient toilets

 
  • Water-efficient washing machines

 
  • Leak repairs

 
Appeal (i.e. % that found the information interesting) 80%–90% 90% 
Water consumption savings (intervention group relative to the control group) 8%* 4.2% 
Willingness to pay in Australian Dollars (AUD) (per HWU report; or for 1 year's access to the MHOW portal, respectively):   
  • Average

 
AUD 2.50 AUD 5.75 
  • Range

 
AUD 0.50–AUD 10.00 AUD 1.00–AUD 20.00 

Water consumption savings for both studies and MHOW portal logins are based on the entire study samples. All other HWU study impacts are based on the 22/34 recipient households who responded to the evaluation survey (i.e. a 65% response rate); and all other MHOW study impacts are based on the 12/30 user households who responded to the evaluation survey (i.e. a 40% response rate).

*HWU study savings are measured relative to the previous winter. The savings are not statistically significant, possibly due to the moderate sample size.

MHOW study savings are measured over the course of 1 year.

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