18 May 2020

Understanding and changing customer behaviour with Anglian Water

Anglian Water Love Every Drop logoGlobal water scarcity is projected to intensify with the impacts of climate change and pollution, and as an increase in population and economic growth lead to an increase in demand for water.  

Anglian Water decided to undertake a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with UEA to better understand and respond to these challenges. Companies need to engage with their customers to try to influence their behaviours and change how they use and manage their water supply, including their impact on the sewerage system.  Within Anglian Water the company needs to work with their colleagues to change behaviours around things like efficient driving, car sharing and working from home to help the company meet its commitments to achieving carbon net zero by 2030.

Anglian Water has already implemented various behavioural change initiatives and wanted to ensure that this work is based on sound academic principles which will get the most return on investment. The company chose to work with UEA as it has a longstanding relationship with the University and has been working closely with the academics leading the UEA side of the collaboration for some time. 

 “As a business we could have chosen to recruit a behavioural scientist to help us achieve the objectives of the project. The advantage of the KTP scheme is in building the collaboration with the University enabling us to access wider expertise.

The scheme also provides a clear structure for the project which demands good communication between the partners. The KTP enables us to support the career progression of the associate.” 

Dr Vittoria Danino, Anglian Water 


“In our partnership with Anglian Water we seek to apply the latest insights from behavioural science to develop, implement and test behaviour change interventions to reduce household water consumption. Such interventions are recognized as a key part of Anglian Water being able to deliver a secure water supply into the future.”  

Dr Rose Meleady, School of Psychology, UEA  

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the project has been going well. While the KTP associate is not able to spend time physically located in the business, she is already being asked by others in the organisation to comment on behavioural change initiatives. 


“KTPs are a big investment in time and money.  The application process helps to crystallise the business case for carrying out the project, but it can take some time to complete…  The relationship with the researchers is important and it may be worth considering doing a small piece of work or a consultancy project together before embarking on the KTP.  That will help both parties understand how to work together and ensure that the researchers have the right expertise needed to help the project.” 

 Dr Vittoria Danino, Anglian Water 

This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. KTP aims to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of the knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK and are part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.  

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