University of Southampton research highlighting water meter benefits presented at a special House of Commons event today (Thursday September 17).
Southern Water and the University of Southampton have collaborated to conduct research into the effectiveness of the Universal Metering Programme.
The study found customers changed their behaviour much earlier than anticipated and that the water savings they made were higher. Households on a meter use 16.5 per cent less water - far more than the expected saving of 10 per cent.
The research was presented by Prof. Carmine Ornaghi from University of Southampton at an event held in the House of Commons.
The presentation, sponsored by Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith, was followed by a panel discussion on water metering and water efficiency.
Former water minister, Richard Benyon MP was a member of the panel. He said, "I pay great tribute to Southern Water for their Universal Metering Programme."
He explained how he had accompanied a Southern Water 'green doctor' and saw first hand how simple water efficiency measures can help vulnerable customers save money.
Deputy director of water resources at the Environment Agency, Trevor Bishop called Southern Water "bold and progressive" for taking the lead on metering and went on to stress how metering is also a "very important part of the jigsaw" when meeting environmental challenges.
The panel included former water minister Richard Benyon MP; deputy director of water resources at the Environment Agency Trevor Bishop; professor of economics Michael Price from Georgia State University; Southern Water's strategy director Simon Oates and MD of water efficiency group Waterwise Jacob Tompkins.
The event was attended by members of both Houses of Parliament and representatives from other water companies, regulators, think tanks, consumer groups and economists.
As Southern Water covers a number of highly populated water-stressed areas, in 2010 the company led the industry with an ambitious programme to move more of their customers off rateable value charging and on to measured bills.
Southern Water's director of strategy Simon Oates said, " I am proud that our work has created a vibrant and evidence based debate around metering and thrilled our customers have embraced the fact that reducing water use can have a positive impact on both the environment and on their bills."