A collaboration between The University of Manchester, Edinburgh University, Essex University, Lancaster University and Leeds University with Fellowships based at Cardiff University, Queens University Belfast and The University of Salford
Climate change, socio-demographic change, cultural change, and technological change are all factors that will influence future patterns of water use in the UK. However a compounding problem is that there are limited understandings of how people in the UK currently use water in their homes, let alone the knowledge to hypothesise how they will change their water use. To overcome this information gap, the SPRG Patterns of Water project explores the diversity, and patterns, of practices that use water in the home. A large part of the project has been a methodological experiment exploring the question of whether you can capture ‘practice' as it is performed, and reflect upon changes to practices (as entities), through the use of quantitative and mixed methodology. As far as the project team is aware, this is the first time worldwide where this theoretical perspective has been captured through quantitative survey methodology.
The project is made up of four main activities:
1. Joint ARCC-Water/SPRG 1800 person survey on water using practices in households in south and south East England. Read findings from the survey in the project Final Report.
2. Qualitative interviews with people who had taken part in the survey. Results in Final Report
3. Focus groups on ‘dirts, bodies, clothes and cleanliness' (research results to soon follow)
4. Micro-econometric modelling of consumption
The main highlight of the research is how taking practices as the unit of analysis when exploring water use - rather than attitudes, behaviours or simply ‘litres used' - allows for a deeper understanding of the routines and habits of everyday life that lead to domestic water consumption: washing and personal hygiene, doing the laundry, gardening, cooking and so on. The project's Final Report argues that a practice approach highlights the diversity of dynamics shaping domestic water demand and can help bring new insights into how to construct interventions, and into the future trajectories of different practices and levels of water consumption.
Joint Principal Investigator: Ben Anderson (ARCC-Water/SPRG)
Joint Principal Investigator: Will Medd (ARCC-Water/SPRG)
Senior Research Associate: Ali Browne (ARCC-Water/SPRG)
Martin Pullinger (ARCC-Water)