Another article for Waterwise

In our first piece for this newsletter at the end of February we looked at historical trends in personal water use. The world has changed considerably since that was published due to Covid-19. Lockdown has changed how we use water almost overnight and may result in more permanent changes if the working habits and economic measures that have been implemented continue beyond the current emergency. Forecasting water use is challenging even in normal times because the total volume of water used depends on the behaviour attitudes and practices of many individuals. Water companies have until recently used methods such as historic micro-component data to model and forecast household water consumption over the next 25 years. The most recent UKWIR guidance on household consumption forecast (developed by Artesia) set out a range of different methods, including multiple linear regression modelling (MLR), which were adopted by some water companies in WRMP19.

Reports we produced for Ofwat and Water UK have produced a range of scenario forecasts for future water use based on a combination of micro-component and MLR methods, as well as probabilistic modelling to produce distributions of consumption.

The Ofwat report developed four future water use scenarios in which per capital consumption (PCC) ranged from 86 to 49 litres per head per day (l/h/d) by 2065, compared to the current reported rate of 143 l/h/d and a ‘current ambition’ scenario of 105 l/h/d/ by 2065.

The scenario with the lowest consumption rate – ‘localised sustainability’ – attracted some attention as it was similar to the water use rate expected of Cape Town residents as they approached ‘Day Zero’ in April 2018 . In fact, in our modelling we assumed that behaviour change and the requirement for lower water use drives technology in this scenario. When new technology comes in people have already changed their habits., so that the technology doesn’t really change the frequency of use. There is a widespread take-up of rain and grey water use, meaning many homes are retrofitted with a dual water system for flushing WCs and external use.

Whilst the Ofwat report was intended to set a ‘blue sky’ context for what is possible, the work we did for Water UK in 2019 was intended specifically to identify cost effective long-term pathways for reducing PCC . This work produced forecasts of water use based on a range of interventions and scenarios. The intention was to ensure ambitious levels of demand reduction can be achieved over the next thirty to fifty years, thus delivering the resilience required to withstand the challenges ahead. The report was also widely quoted in the responses to Defra’s consultation on reducing personal water use.

The results from this project suggest that the most cost-effective scenario resulted in a PCC rate of 82 l/h/d by 2065 through a combination of smart metering and mandatory water labelling (combined with tightening minimum standards linked to Building Regulations). This demonstrated that the most extensive, cost-effective reductions in household water use, beyond the ambition in current water company plans, are only possible with concerted action by all stakeholders.

Of course, models and forecasts become outdated very quickly and the current crisis is likely to affect future water use in a range of ways we are only just finding out about. A much-used recent quote says that “all models are wrong, but some are useful” and this is as relevant to water demand forecasting as it is for epidemiology. However good data will and recent developments in water demand forecasting methods should provide us with a range of tools and approaches that will help the industry understand this changing world.

Delivering large data science projects remotely: lessons learnt

Doing data science working from home is challenging: here is what we have learnt...

Findings from the Artesia and University of Manchester research project are published

Study reveals how water use has changed in lockdown...

Artesia and University of Manchester to research water use in the Coronavirus lockdown

An innovative social science research project with the University of Manchester...

New report provides insights into what drives peak water demand

The exceptionally hot and dry summer of 2018 revealed some fascinating insights...

New Waterwise article! The effect of the coronavirus lockdown on water use

Data visualisation shows how major social changes (and weather) affect water use...

Artesia Consulting and i2O Water announce new Supply Interruption Detection Service: SIDS

Incorporating Artesia's eVader software as a module into iNet...

Artesia Consulting and i2O Water announce strategic partnership

Innovating together to help water companies reduce water loss...

Remembering Simon

A few brief words in memory of SGW...

Another article for Waterwise

Advances and challenges in forecasting water demand...

Coronavirus business update – 17 March 2020

Artesia continues to update plans in response to Covid-19...

Artesia’s first Waterwise newsletter article!

Reviewing long-term patterns in water use...

Artesia becomes a Waterwise affiliate!

An exciting new partnership between Artesia and Waterwise...

Rob's back at Westminster!

Appearing before the EFRA Select Committee...

A new approach in water resources modelling

Artesia's new approach to analysing demand...

Artesia's data science leads attend EARL conference

The 2018 Enterprise Applications of the R Language conference...

Artesia in the national news

Rob Lawson seems to be getting everywhere...

Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival 2018

Dene gets innovative in a big tent...

Announcing hAQUAthon 2018!

The second Artesia-Decision Lab hAQUAthon is on 27th & 28th Nov 2018...

Artesia celebrates 10 years in business

Artesia celebrates a decade of consultancy and data science services...

Evidence of our expertise

Rob gives evidence to select committee...