ESW Water Saving Toolkit (2007)

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Prepared by Michael Scobie, Mouchel Parkman

The purpose of this report is to summarise the findings of a customer engagement trial in Chelmford, Essex, which is part of Essex and Suffolk Water’s long-term water efficiency programme. 5,000 customers were mailed an application pack in 2006-2007, which included 19 water-saving products and services. Out of 5,378 customers contacted, 1,073 households completed the audit and were fitted with water-saving products and services. Based on information from meters and data loggers, the project resulted in average savings of 13.85 litre/property/day. This equates to a total saving of 0.015 Ml/day for the project study area.

Executive Summary

Essex & Suffolk Water (ESW) wants to encourage its’ domestic customers to be more water efficient. As part of ESWs long term water efficiency programme this project aimed to increase their reputation while highlighting the environmental responsibility we all face to help reduce waste and to help defer water resource development. Mouchel Parkman (MP) was commissioned to undertake a Water Saving Toolkit project within Chelmsford, Essex. The project presented involved the mailing out of an application pack to over 5,000 domestic customers. The application pack presented details of 19 water saving products and services that they could choose from, in exchange for details about their home and water use characteristics. Customers were able to reply direct to MP with their order, either by post or by calling a dedicated customer contact centre.

The key objective was to reduce water consumption through customer engagement. Critical to this was the collection of data to enable a robust evaluation of the project and cost benefit analysis.

A database was constructed to store the large volumes of data generated by the project. Extracts of the customer database, customer contact details, including customer survey forms were all stored in the project database. Additionally, the database was used for scheduling of appointments to deliver and fit the selected products and services, recording which items they received, the collation of meter read data and for producing daily work schedules for the site technicians visiting the customers’ homes.

Of 5,378 customers contacted, 1,073 households completed the audit and were fitted with water saving products and services between November 2006 and March 2007. Meter reading data were collected from those properties that had an externally accessible water meter, and 187 flow loggers were installed to collect detailed water use information. Calculations were also undertaken to estimate the theoretical water saving achieved as a result of installing the products during the Water Saving Toolkit project.

The project resulted in each participating property saving on average 13.85 l/prop/day. This equates to a total saving of 0.015 Ml/day for the project study area.

Investigations were undertaken into the cost/benefit in terms of water saving for each product. While these provide a useful preliminary indicator for comparing each product against another, there are other factors that require consideration when selecting which products should be used in future projects. Further analysis was performed which incorporated factors including the ease to fit the item and the customer acceptance of each item.