Have you heard about Defra’s Plan for Water? Defra is the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Its ‘Plan for Water’ is designed to help coordinate a step change in action across government, our economy and the whole country, to make the UK’s water supply clean and plentiful. In this blog we take a look at three of the Plan’s key measures, which include smart water meters, behavioral change and addressing water leaks, and explain how Advizzo can help support these important measures.

The Plan for Water is designed to take us further and faster towards Defra’s water supply goals, by setting out measures to transform and integrate our water system, address sources of pollution and boost water supplies through more investment, tighter regulation, and more effective enforcement.

It’s a national endeavor designed to help us all think about how we can pull together to secure clean and plentiful water – for people, for businesses and for nature – now and for generations to come. Whilst the actions are for government and regulators to lead on, everyone needs to get involved to help deliver the ‘Plan’. That includes:

  • water companies
  • businesses
  • regulators
  • the public

Let’s take a look at the ‘Plan’s’ three key measures. It is designed to:

  1. Transform management of our whole water system:
      The best way to manage supply and pollution pressures is by taking an integrated approach across a whole catchment. Defra’s catchment-based approach will be underpinned by improvements in how we manage our water system with a streamlined policy and legal framework, and with smarter regulation to deliver clean and plentiful water.
  2. Deliver a clean water environment for nature and people
      Defra has set new legally binding targets to significantly reduce pollution from farming, wastewater and abandoned metal mines. As such it has initiated the largest ever environmental infrastructure investment from the water sector. It has also substantially increased the monitoring of storm overflows from only 10% in 2015 to over 90%.
  3. Secure a more sustainable supply of water
      Defra warns that if we do not cut waste, improve water efficiency and invest in new water resource infrastructure, growing demand for water and more extensive periods of drought due to climate change are projected to create a supply-demand gap in the future.

The Plan’s water efficiency measures

Water companies currently provide around 14 billion liters of clean water a day for public water supply. By 2050 we’ll need 4 billion more liters per day. Half of the 4 billion liter a day gap will be delivered through increased supply. The other half will be delivered through improving water efficiency, reducing demand and cutting wasted water.

To meet the future demand for water and minimize impact on bill payers, Defra’s plan includes the following water efficiency measures:

Use water more efficiently

Defra has set targets to reduce household water use to 122 liters per person per day, reduce leakage by 37%, and to reduce non-household (for example, businesses) water use by 9% by 31 March 2038. This is part of the trajectory to achieve daily water use per person of 110 liters (that’s a 50% reduction in leakage and a 15% reduction in non-household water use) by 2050.

Encourage smart meter installation

By using water more efficiently, bill payers can also cut their costs. In July 2021 a group of industry experts, chaired by Waterwise, was set up to make sure we are on track to deliver our targets for water efficiency – that included a focus on smart meter installation. Defra is encouraging water companies to consider how to rapidly increase smart meter installations for household and non-household customers.

Reduce leaks

Whilst leakage has been reduced by a third since water companies were privatized, 20% of the public water supply is still lost through leaks in the water pipeline network. Defra has set an ambitious target for water companies to cut leakage by 50% by 2050. This should close 32% of the 4 billion litre a day gap by 2050. Defra points out that smart meters will help people know if their pipes are leaking.

How Advizzo can help:

The findings of a recent assessment of customers engaged in Advizzo’s data processing and customer engagement programs, demonstrate that providing utility customers with personalized saving tips and advice on how to reduce consumption, motivates behavioral changes that can produce ongoing savings of up to 3% a year, depending on the local context.

Our behavioral science based customer engagement programs can help water suppliers to:

  • Encourage smart meter roll-out

One of the biggest challenges that water suppliers face is the fact that consumers are under no obligation to accept a smart meter. Concerns from people that are currently resisting a smart meter include seeing it as an intrusion of their privacy and data privacy, and making them vulnerable to hackers.It’s time for suppliers to increase their efforts to motivate customers to make the most of  smart meters. And here’s where Advizzo’s user-led experiences can really make a difference! Advizzo’s platform and customer engagement solutions are the perfect channel for both energy and water suppliers to educate and inform customers on the advantages that smart meters can deliver, such as negating the need to submit a meter reading, producing accurate bills, as well as reducing consumption. In addition, any FAQs that customers have about smart meters can also be addressed, such as informing customers that installations are free or that their data is protected. Find out more about how behavioral science can support smart meter deployment.

  • Leverage smart meter data to reduce losses and leaks

Recent advances in intelligent water meter technology have improved the quantitative monitoring of water supply and consumption. Using smart meter data we can indicate high water consumption to individual household’s that might have a potential leak – encouraging customers to monitor consumption, and helping our water company clients to be proactive in detecting and fixing leaks.

  • Encourage customers to change behaviors and habits to reduce their water consumption

Advizzo’ SaaS software enables personalized behavioral science-based communications to be sent to individual customers, providing helpful insights about their water consumption. One of the most persuasive messages that we can send to customers is a leaderboard view of how efficient their consumption is compared to similar households in their locality. These types of insights are proven to motivate customers to engage better with their supplier and take the recommended actions to achieve a more efficient home and adopt more sustainable behaviors. Find out more about how the Nudge theory can help your customers reduce water consumption.

How are you helping to meet future demand for water? Do you have the customer engagement tools in place to help drive Defra’s water plan? Get in touch today, to find out more about our customer engagement solutions.