2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference
Mr. Khalid Osman, University of Texas at Austin
Mrs. Lauryn Spearing, The University of Texas at Austin (Presenter)
Dr. Kasey Faust, The University of Texas at Austin
Increased demands from population growth, in conjunction with constraints placed on the water supply due to increasing frequency and severity of droughts can stress water infrastructure systems in many communities. Encouraging conservation practices is a management approach that can mitigate the impacts of growth through reducing the need to expand the capacity of the system, and supply-side constraints by decreasing per capita demands. This study focuses on water conservation efforts to reduce residential water demands. Specifically, explored using statistical inferencing is: (1) the presence of relationships between household characteristics (e.g., number of occupants) and whether a household conserves water, and (2) the average number of months each year that conservation occurs in households of varying characteristics. Two metrics are used to assess the presence of actual water conservation— whether a household uses less than125gpcpd (the ceiling set by the local utility) or less than 90gpcpd (a commonly cited average water consumption in the US). The difference in values measuring the presence of water conservation —125 gpcpd vs. 90 gpcpd— explores the implications of a lack of standardization in the assessment of residential water conservation; for instance, the relationships between household characteristics may change based on different values used to evaluate if a household conserves. Enabling this study is a survey deployed to the Austin, TX metropolitan area in 2016 that sought to understand water use behavior and perceptions toward local water infrastructure services. This data was subsequently matched to respondents’ monthly water consumption from 2012 to 2016 by the local utility. Understanding the influence of specific demographic factors and household characteristics on residential conservation may assist utilities to develop programs that accurately target specific categories of households for campaigns, such as those that are owned versus rented, or according to the number of occupants in the household. Furthermore, preliminary results of this study suggest that having a dynamic metric that varies throughout the year due to seasonal differences in water consumption may improve the assessment of residential water conservation.