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Assessing the Effect of Water-Related Information Provided by Mobile Application on Water Conservation at Household Level research

Hosea AritoResearcher: Hosea Arito

‚ÄčSupervisors:  Prof. Kobus Van Zyl and Prof. Ulrike Rivett

Research Title: Assessing the Effect of Water-Related Information, Provided by Mobile Application, on Water Conservation at Household Level research 

About The Research

Since South Africa is already a dry country, an alternative approach to managing increasing demand for water is to manage the demand rather than explore new water sources. This research recognizes the need for providing water consumers with technologies that will promote water conservation awareness and facilitate consumer participation in water demand management at household level. Providing consumers with real-time water-related information such as consumption records and conservation tips can empower them to manage their water usage.

The study focuses on metered dwellings in the City of Cape Town, where monthly consumption in some households escalate to about 40 kilolitres. Nonetheless, it is applicable to other metropolitan municipalities in South Africa.  The mobile application used for providing water-related information is called DropDrop. Previous field test conducted in Makhaza, Cape Town showed that the application educated the participants on reading their water meters correctly. They became aware of their consumption, and two participants detected water leakage using DropDrop. In this study five areas of household demand management strategy are examined: meter reading, consumption monitoring, leak detection, implementation of conservation tips, and engagement with utility provider. The findings in these parameters will be correlated with the trend in monthly consumption. Statistical analysis will also be used to draw relationships between these parameters and variables such as household characteristics and water conservation and demand management practices.

Both baseline and follow-up questionnaires would be administered to participants, at the beginning and at the end of the survey period respectively. During this period, participants would be allowed to install and use DropDrop. The study findings are expected to develop a better understanding of the effect of real-time water-related information – provided by mobile phone – on water demand management by householders.

About Hosea

Hosea Arito is a Master's student with iCOMMS research group in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Cape Town. He holds a BSc Degree in Civil Engineering.