Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Public attitudes towards Digital Water Meters for households

Version 1 : Received: 5 May 2021 / Approved: 7 May 2021 / Online: 7 May 2021 (09:41:56 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Koop, S.H.A.; Clevers, S.H.P.; Blokker, E.J.M.; Brouwer, S. Public Attitudes towards Digital Water Meters for Households. Sustainability 2021, 13, 6440. Koop, S.H.A.; Clevers, S.H.P.; Blokker, E.J.M.; Brouwer, S. Public Attitudes towards Digital Water Meters for Households. Sustainability 2021, 13, 6440.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2021, 13, 6440
DOI: 10.3390/su13116440

Abstract

In response to droughts, various media campaigns and water saving instructions are released, often however, with only temporary water conservation effects. A promising development is this regard are Digital Water Meters (DWM) that provide near real-time water-use feedback. Despite extensive DWM experience in some water-stressed regions, a profound understanding of the initial attitude towards DWM and message tailoring opportunities are rarely empirically explored. Therefore, we aim to obtain insights into the attitude towards the introduction of DWM and explore opportunities for message tailoring, a topic of extra relevance as we may be on the threshold of a large-scale implementation in many world regions. Messages tailored to (i) normative beliefs and attitudes on drinking water, (ii) water-use activity and (iii) phase of decision-making, seem particularly compatible with DWM. Through a survey (n=1037) in the Netherlands, we observe that 93% of respondents have no objections utility investments in DWM and that 78% would accept a free DWM because of improved leakage detection, lower costs and environmental considerations. Finally, instead of sociodemographic factors, we observed that an attitude-based customer segmentation approach proved an especially useful predictor of respondent’s motivation to endorse DWM and forms a promising basis for water conservation message-tailoring strategies.

Subject Areas

Water Conservation; Customer Segmentation; Pro-Environmental Behaviour; Smart Water Meters; Water-use Feedback

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