Despite our reliance on water to live, its preciousness and its finite nature, water seems to have left our national consciousness and with it, individual responsibility and water efficient behaviour.
Only 42% of Australians regard tap water as precious, consequently many of us are not committed to using it wisely. Water efficiency mitigates expensive supply alternatives, reduces blocks and leaks and reduces in-pocket costs, but it is not an ‘always on’ message.
To build a resilient community, the team here at the Water Conservancy believe, we must engage all water users with the complete water story that will be remembered for a lifetime. To be successful, it has to be based on a love of water, respect for the urban water cycle and innovative and efficient use of water.
We would like to share with you how The Water Conservancy are taking a holistic approach to addressing water awareness and facilitating water efficient behaviour.
We use three tactics:
- Making water visible
- Influencing how people shop for water efficient products and services
- Water Efficiency 101 – promote water literacy
Our programs also address water awareness, water literacy, innovation and water efficiency.
Water Awareness – The Water Night experience is a free, at-home annual event established to raise awareness of water use in Australia. We prompt the nation of householders to face their subconscious reliance on tap water for one night. 2022 encouraged reflection, conversation, and action in terms of stronger calls on climate change and water awareness.
Water Literacy - Participants in Water Night 2022 increased their water literacy by 26% and their knowledge of water used for everyday tasks by 10%. It continues to prove its effectiveness in starting conversations and achieving great wins with water literacy and water knowledge. The 2022 event was an even bigger success with the Federal Government as a major sponsor enabling us to amplify the campaign significantly with cinema and social.
Shopping and Innovating – Born of the 2004 National Water Initiative, we have provided the Smart Approved WaterMark (SAWM), a scheme with a product label designed to provide confidence that products and services bearing the label will help save water around the home and garden. This label makes selecting water efficient products easy. We assess and approve products and services and promote the scheme independently and in partnership with Water Corporation who base their own Waterwise Product Program upon it. The scheme was wholeheartedly embraced during the Millennium drought by the water industry and government.
Facilitating Efficiency – We have developed Smart Water Advice, a subscription resource that helps water utilities and councils provide professional water efficiency information to their customers. The materials making up this resource improve water literacy, increase peoples perceived value of water, help influence water behaviour and reduce water waste. These tools include collateral, website content, social media assets, videos and television commercials as well as interactive tools like the Plant Finder and Water Calculators.
At the Water Conservancy, we work to generate conversation, awareness and a higher perceived value for our most precious resource – water. Research underpins everything we do. By understanding Australian attitudes to water, we have built a robust foundation for our strategy aiding us to improve water awareness and water literacy, as well as to help people understand their water consumption and facilitate water efficiency.