In August 2008, ech2o in conjunction with East Thames Housing Association, carried out a training and monitoring project, combined with proactive water efficiency measures, with residents on the Cranberry estate in East London as part of Go Carbon Neutral Cranberry.
The training was in two stages; initially fifteen residents aged 16-65 attended a workshop to understand how much water they use, compare it to the UK average and to learn simple technological and behavioural steps to reduce their water footprint. The workshop is designed to create strong links between participants and to adopt a ‘no blame’ approach thus encouraging more honesty when discussing behavioural patterns of water use. This in turn makes it more likely that identified behavioural changes will be followed.
In the second stage, six women (all residents) were subsequently trained for a day on-site by ech2o to carry out actual water audits, to fit save-a-flush bags in WC cisterns and reduce flow rates at taps. These six women have now audited a further 100 homes on the estate, acquiring new skills, engendering a high level of community participation, and gaining access to premises which would have been difficult for outsiders to achieve. They have also spread the message of water conservation to such an extent that this is now one of the most water aware estates in the UK!