'Water metres': A new approach to thinking about water conservation in suburbia

Shelley Burgin*, Tony Webb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


With increased affluence and urbanisation a reliable water supply is regarded as a basic right of urban people in many countries. This has resulted in a paradigm shift in community attitudes to water, and governments increasingly encourage citizens to rethink attitudes to water use as one 'tool' to reduce demand. While a range of 'tools' are used to encourage water availability (dams, recycling, desalination, water efficiency), in urban centres conservation remains heavily reliant on water restrictions to deliver short-term reductions. To stimulate debate around further reduction in demand for potable reticulated water we propose the concept of 'water metres' (the distance water is transported from its point of capture to consumption). The concept parallels 'food miles'. We argue that the introduction of this concept will encourage greater on-site water capture for on-site use, and provide commensurate reductions in demand for potable water from bulk supplies for non-potable suburban use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalUrban Water Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


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