Water use across Greater Sydney has fallen on average by 10 per cent following an eight-month marketing campaign by Sydney Water to encourage people to reduce their water use as the region experiences one of the worst droughts on record. 

Average water demand has continued to drop, with an 11.9 per cent saving in October, a 15.3 per cent saving in November and a 15.2 per cent saving in December.

Sydney Water’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Raema Melverton, said the campaign, coupled with the community’s positive response to Level 1 Water Restrictions, has resulted in a significant drop in water use.

“Our target before Level 2 Water Restrictions were introduced in December was for an average saving of 7.8 per cent, so to achieve an average 10 per cent saving is a fantastic outcome,” Ms Melverton said.

“We’re seeing some amazing behaviour changes, with new research showing a significant increase in the number of people adopting a four-minute shower. We know that showers are where the biggest savings can be made, with around 10 litres used per minute, and representing 27 per cent of the total water use in the home.”

The marketing campaign was designed to encourage people across Sydney Water’s five million customer base to find water savings that worked for them.

“The broader communications and customer teams have also worked tirelessly to reach our business customers and ensuring appropriate permits are in place,” Ms Melverton said. 

The campaign was seen across television, radio, out of home, digital and social. It also featured activations including The Small Change Shop, The Drought Proof Garden and key partnerships with major retailers including Bunnings and Flower Power.

Key figures:

  • The Small Change Shop – Over 17,000 people have visited the travelling activation, where in exchange for popcorn, people make water saving pledges. So far, people have pledged to save more than 633,000L
  • The Drought Proof Garden – The pop-up installation in the middle of the Sydney CBD engaged more than 12,000 customers directly, educating them on how to manage their garden through the drought
  • The ‘Hub’ was launched in September, a platform within the drought campaign website where content on the many ways to save is shared. The hub received over 300,000 unique visitors over a three-month period

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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