South East Water Saver app


Frankstown, VIC


850+ households



South East Water Saver app – trying to save the planet, one nudge at a time.

Considered one of Australia’s most innovative and progressive water utilities, South East Water engaged GreenBe to deliver the South East Water Saver smartphone app – a world-first digital platform led by the University of Melbourne to test the effectiveness of goals, feedback and incentives to deliver meaningful water conservation to residential customers. 

The South East Water Saver app seeked to understand how much water can be saved by using GreenBe’s technology and the scale of impact on South East Water’s residential water usage. By using AMI 30-minute smart water meter data, the app provided households with daily water usage information, tips on how to reduce their water consumption, and help them meet water usage goals to earn rewards.

“Water Saver represents a new frontier for behavioural interventions, moving beyond traditional monthly or quarterly bill-based nudges and information campaigns…technology-enabled daily personalised feedback and weekly goal setting can induce substantial water conservation effects…”

David Byrne, Professor of Economics at University of Melbourne

South East Water Saver app

The benefits of the Water Saver app for South East Water residential customers include: 

  • The potential to save money on water bills by reducing the amount of water used.
  • Actively make a difference to our environment and the way we view water consumption.
  • The ability to earn points through participation in Water Saver challenges.
  • Reduced investment in the water network needed to cope with residential demand, helping to keep the cost of water down in the future.

“Our customers tell us that they want to understand their water usage and how they can make changes in their everyday lives to not only save on their bills, but also to conserve water, as there is a heightened awareness around the scarcity of water and how precious it is as a natural resource.” 

– Alana Jones, Customer Research and Development Project Manager at South East Water

Water Saver delivered many insights into how personalised feedback, goals, and incentives can generate water conservation. The effectiveness of the Water Saver app in changing behaviours and impact household usage and water demand management are evident in the results.

  • 47 L/day reduction in water usage in the first month (15% water usage reduction relative to mean water usage).
  • 50% of households invited to participate in the water challenge downloaded the Water Saver app and activated an account.
  • 70%-90% of households achieved their personalised target/goal in the first month.
  • Behaviour change and a reduction in water usage occurred between 3pm–6pm.
  • 56% of respondents said nudges from the SMS messages were most helpful in helping them to remember to conserve water and track their goals/target line to help them adjust to their Water Saver goals

The 5 most prevalent self-stated water-saving behaviours recorded were:
34% watered the garden less.
17% washed dishes with a fuller dishwasher.
11% washed clothes with a fuller washing machine.
9% took shorter showers.
8% watered the lawn less.

“The [app] examines how goals, information, and incentives provided through the GreenBe-enabled Water Saver digital app affect water usage. In effect, Water Saver acts like an ‘Apple Watch’ for water usage, using 30-minute level interval data from South East Water’s smart water metres to provide water savings tips, set water savings goals, send nudges to remind households of their goals, and provide incentives for them to meet their goals.”

– David Byrne, Professor of Economics at University of Melbourne

About the project
South East Water is one of three retail water corporations supporting customers in metropolitan Melbourne. It delivers drinking water, sewerage, recycled water and trade waste services to over 1.7 million residents and close to 60,000 businesses across Melbourne’s south east. South East Water’s goal is to understand how water utilities can offer an enhanced experience by using its digital metering information to deliver real-time water usage data back to its customers in a meaningful way via different technologies such as GreenBe.

GreenBe solution: Be.Utility iOS iPhone and iPad app, Android app
Network: Telstra
System integration: SEW API
Delivery partners: University of Melbourne

Learn more
To request a copy of the South East Water Saver evaluation report prepared by the University of Melbourne please email us at [email protected]

Key outcomes

47L/dayReduction in water use

Households successfully reduced their water usage by 47L/day in the first month (15% usage reduction).

50%App sign up

Of the households invited to participate in Water Saver 50% downloaded the Water Saver app and activated an account.

70–90%Success rate

During the first month 70%-90% of households achieved their personalised usage reduction target and were rewarded.

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