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The innovative ways utilities are encouraging customers to save water

As the drought in southern and eastern Australia continues and water supplies run low, water utilities are turning to unique engagement campaigns to encourage the communities they serve to save water.

From the lyrical to the lighthearted, here are three initiatives that are starting conversations and encouraging water conservation. 

1. Bathroom beats

Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU) wants customers to sing their way to water savings by belting out a well-timed tune in the shower. 

The utility has created two ‘Bathroom Beats’ playlists on music streaming platform Spotify that customers can play while they lather up. 

Each song on the AM and PM playlists is under four minutes, which QUU spokesperson Michelle Cull said is the most time customers should aim to spend in the shower.

“A water efficient showerhead uses around 9 L of water per minute, so by reducing your shower time from seven minutes to four minutes, you can save around 27 L of water a day,” Cull said.

“A family of four can save around 40,000 L of water and $150 over a year.” 

The tracks range from Barbra Streisand singing ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ to ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ and the more literal ‘Shower’ by Becky G.

While there are currently no water restrictions in place in South East Queensland, dam levels are at just 65% and Cull said it was important to encourage customers to save water. 

“All of the songs on the playlist run for under four minutes and you know when the song is over, it’s time to hop out of the shower,” she said.

“We want people to reduce their shower time and the songs are able to help with timing.”

2. Social strategy

Melbourne’s urban water corporations City West Water, Melbourne Water, South East Water, Western Water and Yarra Valley Water are getting social to promote the Target 155 program. 

This refers to the goal of limiting water use to 155 L of water per person per day. Melbourne’s average is currently 161 L.

To get the message out, the businesses are using the hashtags #makeeverydropcount and #Target155 on social media and sharing snippets of a world without water.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1kERhyA2zJ/

As befits a social media strategy, they’re targeting a younger audience by focusing on the impact a lack of water would have on things millennials love: plants, coffee and smashed avocado.

3. Many ways to save

With Greater Sydney experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, Sydney Water has launched an attention-grabbing engagement strategy.

The utility’s Many Ways to Save campaign includes two 30-second TV ads that take a humorous approach to a serious subject.

In one ad, two parents give their young daughter a water-efficient camel instead of the puppy she was hoping for. In the other, a man works out naked to save water on laundry.

The both ads end with the message, “there are many ways to save water, some better than others”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs4mT5dmNOI

Matt Ennis, Creative Director of Host Havas, which helped produce the ads, said the campaign is about highlighting that there are “hundreds of responsible, practical, simple ways to save water”.

"By juxtaposing these with wildly impractical ways to save, this tongue-in-cheek campaign shows just how easy it is to take steps towards collectively beating the drought," he said.

Along with the TV ads, the campaign will also run on radio, in print, online and on social media.

The utility has also created a website,  lovewater.sydney, where customers can learn more about saving water.

Does your organisation have a great customer engagement strategy? Why not submit a paper, panel or workshop about it for Ozwater’20? To find out more, click here.