Water Journal : Current May 2016
106 www.awa.asn.au executive summary demand management Selling ice to eskimos RETHINKING DEMAND MANAGEMENT WHEN YOU ARE NOT IN DROUGHT. C Agnew, P Mulley, N Quinn, N Thatcher, D Lambert Sydney Water has a rich history in demand management. Water efficiency began in 1999 with Waterfix, the first program, and largest in terms of customer participation. In 2007, water scarcity was the most important customer sentiment issue above cost of living, housing, transport, education and health. HISTORY OF DEMAND During the Millennium Drought, the focus on water efficiency from government, community and water utilities in NSW was unprecedented. As the crisis abated, however, the concern and effort in water conservation tapered to focus on other asset management priorities that had been temporarily put on hold. By 2011, much of the low-hanging fruit in demand management had been exploited, the drought had come and gone, and investment was reduced. Customers now use 25% less water than they did before the Millennium Drought and have maintained water-efficient behaviour despite the lifting of restrictions. This lack of demand 'bounce back is thought to be related to the length and severity of water restrictions, as well as greater regulation. JUSTIFYING FURTHER INVESTMENT Sydney Water has become a victim of its own success. How do we justify ongoing investment in demand management? After the success of the water savings programs during the Millennium Drought, cheap and easy savings were no longer available. Large amounts of spare capacity in water and wastewater systems was an unintended benefit from the big reductions in demand during the drought. The approach of the future will proactively target parts of Sydney Water s network that are capacity constrained or difficult and expensive to service. Like many similar organisations, Sydney Water is rich in data but can be information poor. It was decided that a robust decision framework, in line with current asset management practices, would be the best way to justify investment. To put this together, existing spatial, cost, energy and demand data was collated. A major innovation was to map publicly available census information to Sydney Water s water and wastewater networks. By correlating demographic data with demand management information, it is possible to find some of the underlying trends influencing customer participation. For example, low-income areas are less likely to participate in demand management. The three-step process of opportunity identification, program investigation and prioritisation allows Sydney Water to exploit cost-effective programs at a range of scales, from the entire area of operations to specific parts of the network. PRACTICAL TESTING This new approach will be tested through application and will inform a number of asset strategies. Exploring all viable options to meet customer expectations is good due diligence on the part of utilities. Opportunity Identification Where could water savings be achieved? Program Investigations What is the most appropriate program to achieve water savings? Prioritisation Process Which are the most effective opportunities? What do we do now vs during drought?
Current Feb 2016
Current August 2016