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Long-term water conservation is fostered by smart meter-based feedback and digital user engagement

Cominola, Andrea; Giuliani, Matteo; Andrea Castelletti, Andrea; Fraternali, Piero; Gonzalez, Sergio Luis Herrera; Herrero, Joan Carles Guardiola; Novak, Jasminko; Rizzoli, Andrea Emilio

Consumption-based feedback has been demonstrated to encourage water conservation behaviors. Smart meters and digital solutions can support customized feedback and reinforce behavioral change. Yet, most of the studies documenting water conservation effects induced by feedback and smart meter data visualization evaluate them in short-term experimental trials only. Here we show that water conservation behaviors promoted by smart meter-based consumption feedback and digital user engagement interventions might persist in the long term. We developed an analysis of 334 households in Valencia, Spain. We find that approximately 47% of the households engaged in our water conservation program achieved a long-term 8% reduction of volumetric water consumption, compared with pre-treatment observations. Water conservation behaviors persisted more than two years after the beginning of the program, especially for the households receiving sub-daily smart meter information. Our results provide empirical evidence that smart meter-based water consumption feedback and digital user engagement can effectively promote durable conservation behaviors.
Published in: npj Clean Water, 10.1038/s41545-021-00119-0, Springer Nature