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You are here: Use Water Wisely / Final Report 2002 / Follow-Up Study 2003 / Appendices 1 & 2

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Findings from the Final Report

Originally the 2002 Use Water Wisely project targeted 900 properties adjacent to the upper reaches of the Bourne Stream (Bourne Bottom) with the aim of supplying and installing 150 water butts in that area.  The offer was soon extended to include a total of 4,759 homes, however, after the initial phase of letters to homes in July/August resulted in a disappointingly low response rate.  This also prolonged the period of the promotion.

Letters were sent in phases during July - December with the additional incentive of a prize draw to respondents (25.00 worth of B&Q vouchers as the prize); fliers were also distributed by the two surveyors/installers allocated to the project, as reminders.  Both letters and fliers required that householders respond by telephone during office hours.  The manager of the new B&Q at Wallisdown also displayed large boards in the entrance to the store. 

A final response rate of 3% (142 homes surveyed) was achieved, and 101 water butts were installed (see Table 1);

Compared with a response rate of around 50% to a very similar, but smaller, project undertaken in Christchurch by Bournemouth and West Hampshire Water (now known as Sembcorp Bournemouth Water)


Key observations:

  • It was discovered that many of those reminded of the offer had either lost or destroyed the original letter.  It is felt that there is great difficulty in attracting attention to this subject with so many other distractions arriving in the mail; proof of this can be taken from the winner of the prize draw, who had thrown away his notification letter without reading it thoroughly!  He was contacted by 'phone on 25 February and presented with the prize at his home a few days later;

  • Some difficulties were found in re-contacting respondents to make appointments to survey/install, and in arranging suitable appointment times;

  • Customers passed news of the offer to neighbours, indicated by 'clustered' responses in certain roads;

  • The boards at B&Q attracted interest in customers who did ask questions of the staff there; the only attributable phone call to BWHW, however, was from someone outside the offer area;

  • There was a very favourable 50% take-up on water metering after the occupancy-based assessment was sent back to the homeowner; of the 38 that would be more than 50 a year better off, 19 requests have been received;

  • Many of those surveyed are already taking measures to save water and the products offered to them assisted this aim;

  • It appears that few householders know where their water is supplied from, and where waste water goes to; this is something that the Partnership needs to address when we ask residents to make the link between their behaviour and the effect they have on the environment;

  • Very few people have heard of the Bourne Stream Partnership, and publicity must now be a priority.


No detailed evaluation of water saved has been carried out; it would be very difficult to do so within the limited extent of the project.  The water saving message has, however, been highlighted and actions taken in the project will save water.  The installation of 19 water meters will ensure these householders are aware of their own water usage now it is linked to cost.

  • In June 2003 students from Bournemouth University undertook a follow-up research project for the Partnership to discover why the promotion appeared to have been of little interest to many in the area.

Table 1: Some of the key results of the survey

Number of contacts made by customers


Number of contacts made by customers 

not in the catchment area


Customers wanting only to be in the prize draw


Outstanding surveys (unable to re-contact customers)


Surveys (questionnaires) completed


Water Butts installed


Hose Trigger Guns provided


Shower Timers provided


Hog Bags installed


Requests for sewer audits passed to Wessex Water


Properties already metered when surveyed


Properties assessed to be worse off on a meter


Properties assessed to be only marginally better off on a meter (>50)


Properties assessed to be better off on a meter (<50)


Requests for meter options since survey


Full questionnaire analysis

(available as pdf, 173kb)

Use Water Wisely Questionnaire Analysis (2004)





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