I usually go for about 3 litres, think the blurb recommends 2-3 min. I'm not aware of delaying your first meal having any effect since as far as I know it's just purely the maths of calories/day or week. When you choose to consume them is up to you but I tend to strike a balance between waiting/hunger. I usually have water till 12-2 and have a shake. I would guess it depends a lot on your lifestyle and job/sleeping habits.
I drink 3-4 litres the minimum is 2.5 litres to stay healthy , and its recommended that you dont drink more than 5 litres , and try and spread the water through the day rather than drink a lot all at once as this can overload your system .
I save my first shake / soup till lunch time as I like to have one in the evening , its personal choice and makes no difference when you have them , as long as you have all 3 every day
I tend to split my shakes so I have 6 small meals a day, fairly evenly spread from breakfast time til just before bed. Works for me as it means I've always got something to hand so I don't give in to any other cravings!
splitting the shakes sounds like a good idea,i think i'll try that today,its a long day when your feeling hungry and bored. I[ve been picking at my one bar a day throughout the day,have a tiny nibble to get rid of cravings when they appear.