Artesia is working with South East Water to find out

South East Water is building on previous research which shows installing water meters in customers’ homes reduces water consumption by an average of 15 per cent per household.

The company has found when a water meter is fitted, customers think more carefully about the amount of water they use as they pay for each drop.

Cutting water use is a central part of the company’s plans to preserve the vital resource for the future.

South East Water’s Water Resources Management Plan 2014 (WRMP14) has forecast a 19 per cent  increase in population during the next 25 years. The South East of England is already designated as an area under water stress. At the same time, the company expects climate change and other issues to reduce the amount of water available in its supply area.

South East Water started its customer metering programme (CMP) in 2011 to help address these challenges.  The CMP will result in more than 175,000 domestic properties being metered by 2015 and a further 180,000 homes to be metered by 2020. In total, 90 per cent of customers will be metered by 2020.

The CMP and other demand reduction programmes are expected to reduce average consumption from 166 litres per person per day to between 140 and 150 litres per person per day by 2040. Achieving changes in customer behaviour and water savings via the metering programme is important to South East Water’s long-term water resources plans, and its ability to maintain supplies.

South East Water has commissioned Artesia to look in detail at the benefits metering has had on consumption.  This project will provide a rigorous, independent validation of the benefits and savings South East Water can expect from its customer metering programme.

The project will be delivered in two phases, and will analyse consumption data as well as customers’ views on the programme.  The objectives of the phase 1 of the project will be to undertake an independent review of analyses conducted for the most recent water resources management plan and additional data collected during the past 12 months.  Sub-consultants – DJS Research – will also review the survey work and customer feedback received on the metering programme to date, and carry out a customer survey during this phase of work to establish a baseline for later phases of this study.

South East Water delivers top quality drinking water to 2.1 million customers in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire.  This is an area of the UK where water resources are particularly challenging due to low rainfall, high population and high levels of household water consumption.