• Raasheed Pakwashi

Paradigm - Insights during lockdown

To say that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the world would be an understatement. While the full extent of its impacts on the water industry are still emerging, we decided to look into the impact that the pandemic has had on water consumption in the UK.

Using Paradigm, our component demand analysis model, we have gained insight into the way in which water consumption shifted during lockdown and how this varied across different socio-economic backgrounds. The charts below illustrate the comparison between typical water consumption before lockdown and during the height of lockdown, in both affluent (Figure 1) and less-affluent (Figure 2) neighbourhoods.

Figure 1: Typical weekday flow in affluent neighbourhoods

Figure 2: Typical weekday flow in less-affluent neighbourhoods

There are apparent similarities in the two lockdown profiles (orange). The morning peaks are later and longer in both cases. There is also increased flow during the day. We can easily explain this… During lockdown many people were able to lie in a little longer (no gym to attend before work, no school run, no commute to work, etc.) and they then spent the day working from home.

There are also interesting differences between the two. Notably, a significant increase in flow during the evening in affluent neighbourhoods during lockdown, compared to a relatively small change in flow in less-affluent neighbourhoods. Before lockdown, it is likely that those in in wealthier communities would have spent their evenings eating out, attending the gym, socialising, etc. And with these options no longer available during lockdown, water consumption at home increased while they were confined to their homes. We can also see a reduction in the morning peak in less-affluent neighbourhoods, which indicates that they were significantly more affected by business closure and furlough, in comparison to more affluent neighbourhoods with a higher proportion of white-collar workers.

So, will the typical weekday flow return to pre-pandemic levels? Or will there be a ‘new normal’ now that people remain working from home? Paradigm is helping our clients figure out the answers to these questions.