Water Conservation Through Plumbing and Nudging

Nature Human Behaviour (2022). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-022-01320-y

Posted: 30 Mar 2021 Last revised: 4 Apr 2022

See all articles by Sumit Agarwal

Sumit Agarwal

National University of Singapore

Eduardo Araral

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Mingxuan Fan

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Yu Qin

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Real Estate

Huanhuan Zheng

National University of Singapore

Date Written: March 30, 2021

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate two solutions to urban water security challenges: plumbing and nudging. Using anonymized monthly billing data from 1.5 million accounts in Singapore over ten years, our staggered difference-in-differences estimates show that a nationwide Home Improvement Programme that improves the efficiency of plumbing reduces residential water consumption by 3.5%. This effect persists over a decade and is robust across population subgroups. Efficiency improvements could enhance the efficacy of other conservation polices and mitigate the effects of excessive heat, rainfall and air pollution. The savings from efficiency improvements on utility bills are small, but the increase in housing value exceeds the private cost of the Home Improvement Programme. However, an evaluation of a nationwide peer-comparison nudging programme finds no evidence of reduced water consumption. Overall, we show that plumbing improvements generate long-lasting effects on water conservation.

Suggested Citation

Agarwal, Sumit and Araral, Eduardo and Fan, Mingxuan and Qin, Yu and Zheng, Huanhuan, Water Conservation Through Plumbing and Nudging (March 30, 2021). Nature Human Behaviour (2022). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-022-01320-y, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3815431 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3815431

Sumit Agarwal

National University of Singapore ( email )

15 Kent Ridge Drive
Singapore, 117592
Singapore
8118 9025 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ushakrisna.com

Eduardo Araral

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Mingxuan Fan (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS)

1E Kent Ridge Road
NUHS Tower Block Level 7
Singapore, 119228
Singapore

Yu Qin

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Real Estate ( email )

4 Architecture Drive
Singapore 117566
Singapore

Huanhuan Zheng

National University of Singapore ( email )

469C Bukit Timah Rd
NUHS Tower Block Level 7
Singapore, 259772
Singapore

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