Increased user awareness and modified behaviours concerning the use of water

DAIAD is based on the principle that user awareness and self-induced behavioural change are the foundations for delivering sustainable changes in water consumption for society as whole. All research and technological activities in the project do not simply promote user awareness, but rather empower citizens to act as the catalyst for change.

In DAIAD we will develop technologies that provide the missing data concerning water consumption. We will deliver new, low cost/maintenance sensors for real-time and highly granular water consumption monitoring, decoupled from water metering. This will enable users to proactively and voluntarily adopt water monitoring sensors at low cost, and form a critical mass of consumers demanding similar services from water providers.

DAIAD will provide simple and intuitive multimodal interfaces and knowledge delivery mediums to efficiently communicate knowledge concerning water consumption and actively promote sustainable consumption changes. These will provide consumers with actionable knowledge and incentives to promote a sustainable lifestyle, interlinking their physical behaviour with timely information and stimuli. Such instruments will not only modify consumer change, but more importantly, maintain it over time. Further, in DAIAD we develop automatic knowledge management and analysis services for consumers and consumer groups, that continuously analyze water consumption, identify patterns, provide recommendations, and offer incentives to strengthen sustainable consumption changes, both through self-motivation and social interaction.

DAIAD will provide the required software tools with an open knowledge license, enabling users to self-adopt the produced technologies at a low cost. This will create and sustain a network effect with consumers becoming self-aware and introducing others in modified consumption behaviours. Further, this change in consumer behaviour will also drive innovation in water metering and produce a demand for new products, value added services and business opportunities.

Finally, in DAIAD we will produce educational and training material which can be applied by citizen associations, NGOs and water stakeholders, to inform the general population regarding water consumption, benefits from adopting a sustainable lifestyle, practical measures everyone can apply, and the technical means ICT can offer on a personal, community, and enterprise level

Quantifiable and significant reduction in water consumption

Reductions in energy consumption through ICT technologies are now considered a mainstream with well documented and proven benefits. Timely and accurate information, interlinked with human activities, is valuable for reducing resource consumption on a personal level. Further, highly granular and real-time knowledge of resource consumption on a larger scale can lead to new pricing models that refuel further reductions. In contrast, water consumption largely remains unaffected by these advances, in an archaic state. In DAIAD, we will deliver the much needed innovation in the water domain, by complementary research, technological, and policy advances.

DAIAD will develop innovative water monitoring technologies that provide real-time water consumption data across all points of residential consumption. This highly granular and real-time knowledge of where, when and how water is consumed, lay the necessary foundations for transferring knowledge and stimuli to consumers. Further, in DAIAD we will develop technologies to convey actionable knowledge to consumers in order to reduce their water consumption, through automated analysis and recommendation services, as well as with novel and simple multimodal interfaces. In essence, we will devise the means to transform water consumption data to actual knowledge and stimuli. Knowledge will be delivered through a number of different interfaces that cater for the cognitive, attentional and attitudinal capabilities of everyday users.

DAIAD will enable consumers and consumer groups to combine and share their water consumption through automated and privacy-preserving tools, in the Web and social networks. These capabilities contribute to further reductions in water consumption by employing social dynamics and gamification. Consumers will be able to compare their water consumption with other peers, develop a sense of comradeship, social reward, and healthy competition. The inclusion of social networks in DAIAD for sharing water consumption and soliciting active interaction between users, strengthens the social dynamics of DAIAD, capitalizes the benefits for the community and disseminates sustainable lifestyles to the social web. This extrovert feature of DAIAD establishes a novel medium for conveying stimuli and motivating the general population towards sustainable water use and reuse.

DAIAD will provide novel insight into how, when and why consumers demand water based on highly granular and real-time water consumption data, along with relevant and similarly complex data (e.g. geographical, meteorological, attitudinal). The developed big data management and knowledge extraction tools will convey a profound leap in the technical instruments available for water demand management. The capacity to collate these massive amounts of data and analyze water consumption in highly detailed dimensions will empower water domain experts to explore and forecast water demand management through a novel lens of unparalleled detail. This will lead to a better understanding of the hidden correlations and influences for water consumption, enabling new WDM policies and pricing schemes that reflect these findings and solicit even greater reductions in water consumption.

From the above advances, DAIAD will deliver a combined reduction in water consumption for residential environments greater than 20% on average, with a retention rate of over 80% after a 12 month period. This is a modest estimate based on preliminary experimental techniques, which we aim to improve even further. However, even this reduction significantly outperforms the documented 5% decrease through online billing information provided from smart water meters. DAIAD’s ability to distinguish among the various points of consumption and cold/water use, provides even greater benefits. The reduction in hot water has a corresponding decrease in energy consumption from water heating and CO2 emissions and thus an overall smaller environmental footprint.

The reduction in water consumption as a result of the multi-faceted contributions of the project will be thoroughly documented and validated with real-world and long-lasting trials. We will quantify a) how each component of the project singularly contributes to water reduction (e.g. sensors, pricing policy) and b) how all components of DAIAD collectively provide aggregated benefits. Further, we will explore and document the benefits for water consumption in two modes of deployment: bottom-up (i.e. organized by a water provider) and top-down (i.e. voluntarily participation). Our findings will pave the way for alternative modes of establishing a water monitoring infrastructure, which can combine private initiative with civic participation and thus reduce investment costs.