Water Journal : Water Journal November 2012-1
refereed paper demand management water NOVEMBER 2012 91 of these households having installed a rainwater tank; and income group $1,000 to $1,199 having the least uptake. This may be attributed to the fact that the majority of these households probably live in apartments or flats. The suburb in this income group included Gosford CBD area, which includes flats/apartments. It must be noted that further data collection and analysis are necessary to generalise the above observations, as the sample seems to have been biased in favour of tank owners, as discussed previously. Residential REFIT Kit Uptake The REFIT kit rebate was offered twice by Gosford City Council. The first REFIT kit program began in June 2004 and ran for three years ending in June 2007. The second program, which saw the items in the kit change, began in November 2007. However, it ran for only 11 weeks, finishing at the end of January 2008. The main objective of the rebate programs was to improve the uptake and awareness of water and energy efficient devices within the community. The REFIT kit was priced at $39, but had a real value of $130. The REFIT kit included: • A low-flow shower head; • Two tap aerators; • One garden hose trigger nozzle; • One bucket (only in the second program); • One energy saving fluorescent light bulb; and • An energy and water audit of the house (only in the first program). The uptake of REFIT kits over the duration of the two programs were recorded by Gosford City Council on a fortnightly basis. Figure 6 presents both the yearly (bars) and total (line) uptake of REFIT kits within GLGA. Over the three years of the first REFIT kit program, 3,725 households participated in the program. The second program ran for 11 weeks, with 1,553 households participating (the majority of the uptake was in 2007 and only 85 REFIT kits were issued in 2008). Recorded total uptake for both the programs was 5,278 by 2008. As the number of households in GLGA was about 62,845 (as of 2008), this yields an uptake rate of the REFIT kit of around 8.4%. However, this may be an underestimate of potable water saving devices as many households had already implemented some of the changes; for example, to their taps and shower heads, as these were available for a nominal price or were included as part of a new home installation (Modessa, 2010). Table 6 (based on data obtained from the phone survey) shows that the penetration of each water-efficient appliance varied from 75% to 90%, suggesting that uptake of water saving REFIT devices was not strongly dependent on the rebate program. Table 6. Uptake of water-saving devices based on household survey. Water-saving Devices Uptake Rate% Dual-flush toilets 90 Low-flow shower heads 86 Kitchen tap aerators 75 Conclusions The analysis of demand data for Gosford Local Government Area indicated that the total demand reduced from 301L/capita/d to 193L/capita/d over the period of 2001 and 2008. The residential water demand reached its lowest value of 159L/capita/d in 2008, which is significantly lower than the 185L/capita/d estimated based on recent Australian data (Beal et al., 2010). This reduction in demand (about 36%) appears to be mainly driven by external water restrictions, which became more severe as the drought progressed. In response, the householders increased the voluntary installation of rainwater tanks that supplied water for external water uses such as garden irrigation. However, the adoption figure appeared to be about 9.5% of the 63,091 households in the Gosford area. This was aided by the introduction of a rainwater tank rebate system by all three levels of Government (Federal, State and Local). However, it was apparent that the uptake of rainwater tanks by the householders was due more to the water restrictions imposed rather than the rebates offered, as the uptake numbers peaked well before the maximum rebate ($2,500) became available. This low figure of 9.5% based on rebate records was contradicted by information collected in a small (n=100 households) phone survey, which suggested that 41% of residents had installed rainwater tanks. Part of the discrepancy is due to mandatory tank installation in new homes under the BASIX program (about 8% of households), as well as installation of small tanks (< 2,000 L) that were ineligible for government rebates. These small tanks contributed a further 8%, giving total tank penetration of about 26%, which is still much less than the self- reported figure of 41%. It seems likely that the small sample size provided a biased sample of the Gosford community and, hence, related results should be interpreted with a degree of scepticism. A closer look at the rainwater tank uptake against the gross weekly family income revealed that the lowest uptake rate of rainwater tanks occurs for middle- income group households. This may be due to the fact that these income group families may be predominantly living in flat or apartment-style dwellings. To increase the uptake rate among these families, it will be necessary to develop guidelines and/or other types of incentives for installation of rainwater tanks in apartments/flats. A closer examination of uptake of retrofitted water-efficient devices by the householders from the records of the rebate approval (REFIT) and the household survey, indicated that many householders have installed some of the REFIT devices voluntarily, resulting in a relatively high penetration of 75–90%. Limitations in conventional community water supply, substantial water price increases, community education/ awareness and Council rebates are the most likely reasons for this high uptake of REFIT devices. 6000 2500 4000 5000 6000 1500 2000 2500 ateake Line – Cumulative Column - Yearly 2000 3000 500 1000 1500 TotalUpdaYearlyUpta 0 1000 0 500 2004* 2005 2006 2007* 2008* Year * REFIT Kit rebate was only available for some part of a year Figure 6: Uptake of Council’s REFIT kits.
Water Journal December 2012
Water Journal September 2012-1