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North America Residential Water Usage Trends

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Declining household water usage has adversely influenced household water demand and wastewater volumes over the past several decades. Typically, utility officials attribute the decline in household usage to wetter weather, new water-conserving appliances, changing demographics, and classification anomalies; however, there is no clear understanding of the impact of these factors to the overall decline. Without a clear understanding of the changing water-use patterns, it is difficult to develop appropriate pricing structures to recoup costs and provide resources for the future

This study investigates historic trends in household water usage in North America and draws preliminary conclusions on the magnitude and causes of declining household usage. By focusing on: 1) understanding single-family household water-usage patterns and trends; 2) assessing the potential impact on water utility operations; and 3) providing data to be correlated with future trends for planning purposes. The study concludes that the decline in the number of persons per household and the increased penetration of low-flow appliances are the primary contributors to the observed decline in usage per household.
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Keywords: Declining household water usage; declining household size; historic usage trends; penetration of low-flow appliances

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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