Water-saving impacts of smart meter technology: an empirical 5 year, whole-of-community study in Sydney, Australia

Kirsten Davies*, Corinna Doolan, Robin Van Den Honert, Rose Shi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


In 2009-2010 Sydney Water, the primary water utility in Sydney, conducted a comprehensive Smart Metering trial in residential homes in the suburb of Westleigh, in Sydney's north. The trial involved 1923 participants residing in 630 households. A whole-of-community method of engagement was applied to capture the views of residents from 12 to 701 years of age. The trial examined the effects of the technology on the water consumption of an intervention group compared with that of a matched control group. After removing properties that had been sold since the beginning of the trial, properties in the study group were matched with a control group property on the basis of the household size, property size and the presence (or otherwise) of a swimming pool. The effects of the technology on consumption were measured and analyzed for the period July 2009 to June 2010, coupled with qualitative information that was collected throughout the duration of the study. A key finding was that households with the in-home display (IHD) installed, reduced their consumption by an average of over 6.8% over the study period when compared to the control group. Since completion of the study the community has not had any further interventions. The trial created an opportunity to examine the longer-term effects of the technology (June 2008 to September 2013). Consumption data collected over the 3 year posttrial period revealed that the participant group consumed 6.4% per month less water when compared to the pretrial period, whilst the matched control group consumed 1.3% per month more water when compared to the pretrial period. The reduced consumption of the participant group was maintained over time, demonstrating the long-term value of this technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7348-7358
Number of pages11
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Water-saving impacts of smart meter technology: an empirical 5 year, whole-of-community study in Sydney, Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this