Waterwise Conference 2016

04-Nov-2016

Crowder Consulting recently attended the Waterwise Annual Conference, on the 2nd March, to learn more about developments within the water efficiency sector, an area Crowder Consulting are becoming increasingly involved in. The core focus of the conference this year was how to engage customers with the idea of water efficiency. We know from past experience in water efficiency projects that the more engaged customers are with the concept and benefits of water efficiency, the more successful the project is in saving water.

Engaging Customers in Water Efficiency

It is often challenging to encourage customers to change their behavior and save water, especially when customers are not on a meter and won’t see a direct financial benefit, but there are many ways to get customers thinking about being more water efficient. Some ideas implemented at Crowder Consulting to get customers educated and engaged with water efficiency include:

  • Getting customers thinking about how much energy they could save, as using less water means there is less water for the boiler to heat
  • Educating customers that water is as valuable a home resource as gas and electricity, so should be saved in the same way
  • Informing customers about the benefits water efficiency can have to their local environment and animals
  • Involving young people and educating them about saving water, with specially designed kid’s water saving packs

New Ways to Engage

The conference sparked many interesting discussions and presented many new ways in which customers can be engaged with the idea of water efficiency.

Shamoon Khan, one of Crowder Consulting’s Project Engineers who has regularly been involved with the company’s water efficiency projects, attended the event to gain insight into customer engagement. “The most useful part of the conference for me was the idea that it’s the messenger who delivers the water efficiency initiative to the customers that is the most important part of a project. For example, a water efficiency initiative is likely to be much more accepted if it’s introduced to customers by a well known member of their community, rather than just a water company representative. Having community champions and taking a more community centered approach is something we will explore in future water efficiency projects.”

Stuart Mawditt, one of our Senior Engineers who has managed multiple water efficiency projects, attended the event so we can deliver water efficiency initiatives with even higher success rates in the future. “The most important outcome of the conference for us was helping us to think about how the message of water efficiency is best delivered to customers, to achieve the best customer acquisition rates. Getting customers engaged is the most important step in any water efficiency project, and something we are always looking to improve upon.”

The Future of Water Efficiency

The conference also presented an opportunity for different members of the water sector to come together and discuss what the future holds for water efficiency.

We will continue to see a move away from water companies simply giving out water saving devices and tips to a more personalised experience, with technicians visiting homes and providing retrofit visits, therefore increasing the likelihood that devices are installed and used. Retrofit visits have been an essential part of Crowder Consulting’s strategy in previous water efficiency projects, delivering great success rates and getting customers engaged with water efficiency.

The way in which water companies interact with their customers regarding water efficiency is likely to change in the future. If water companies want the full cooperation of their customers with water efficiency initiatives, there is a need for two way, regular engagement with customers. Water companies can no longer provide just one way information communications in times of drought when the water company needs something of it’s customers – investing in meaningful engagement all year round will mean customers are more open to discussion about many topics regarding their water, not just water efficiency.

With the opening of the retail market for household water supply likely in 2020, water companies will have to compete with each other for customers. This will lead to water being sold as a service rather than a resource, and means water efficiency initiatives are likely to play an important role in retaining and growing a water company’s customer base.

As the world becomes increasingly technologically advanced, smart devices are likely to become standard components in water efficiency initiatives. Already there are smart showers that tell you how much water you have used in your shower, and send the information directly to your smart phone or tablet. The potential for technological innovation in water efficiency is vast and we will likely see the invention and development of new smart devices over the coming years.

The conference was both insightful and thought provoking, and has given our water efficiency team a lot to think about, particularly regarding the future of water efficiency and how this will affect Crowder Consulting’s strategy when it comes to water efficiency projects.

To find out more about water efficiency and the work that Waterwise do, you can visit the Waterwise website.