The COVID policies and measures put into place have had a profound impact on society and day to day life. People spent more time at home and less time in their workplaces. Travel within and outside of the UK reduced. This has changed the way people use water. The location, types and drivers of water use has changed.
Between March and October 2020, water use in homes increased by between 9% and 13%. Water use in commercial properties and workplaces has decreased. Overall, the total demand has gone up by an estimate of 2.6%. This pattern is consistent, but the amount varies between regions.
Water companies across England and Wales decided to collaborate. There are common themes, but also regional variation. The Environment Agency and water companies worked with Artesia to inform short term and long-term planning of water resources, as well as understanding the impacts on targets across these different water use types. The study used a range of water demand data covering the COVID period up to the end of October 2020. Artesia used total demand at water resource zone level, water network demand data and anonymised consumption data from samples of households and commercial properties. It has been a deep dive into the data and evidence that water companies have collected during the pandemic. Timeseries modelling and prediction has enabled us to disentangle COVID impacts on consumption from the normal weather variations. Part of this study included a social science project with the University of Manchester.
Read more on the report here
Artesia will be presenting on this topic at Networks November 2021
As a technical consultancy Artesia have been providing data science services in the water sector since 2008. They combine extensive industry knowledge and data science skills to tackle current and future challenges in water resources, water conservation, demand forecasting, network and asset management. The full collaborative study report and the University of Manchester social science report can be found here in the COVID-19 folder.