May 26, 2011

Water Research Foundation to Update Residential End Uses Water Study

Foundation will research 28 water utilities to gain updated information

The Water Research Foundation (WaterRF) announced that it is updating and expanding its Residential End Uses Water Study. The original study was published in 1999, and water utilities, industry regulators and government planning agencies have considered it the industry benchmark of single-family home indoor water use.

The goal of the three-year project, which will begin in spring 2011 and conclude in late 2013, is to investigate water use patterns in residential housing in 28 water utilities markets in the U.S. and Canada. The 28 water utilities volunteered to participate in the project. The new study will expand on the 1999 report by exploring water use over a more geographically diverse area, monitoring hot water use, examining outdoor water use (such as for landscaping) and assessing water conservation efforts in households. The new study also will integrate data from additional reports in order to present a more comprehensive picture of residential water use.

Under WaterRF’s supervision, the study will be conducted by Aquacraft Inc., a water engineering and management company, in collaboration with Hazen and Sawyer, an environmental engineering firm; the National Research Center; Veritec Consulting; and Dr. Benedykt Dziegielewski, a professor at Southern Illinois University and a national expert on water use analysis.

The total cost of the project is $1.6 million, with funding and in-kind services pooled from WaterRF, the Aquacraft research team and a number of the participating water utilities. Other participating water utilities are providing in-kind donations and contributions to the project.

In each market, the utility participants will provide project researchers with historic water consumption data from a representative sample of 1,000 single-family customers. In nine of the 28 markets, researchers will select 100 homes for monitoring of indoor and outdoor water use and 10 homes for examining hot water use. The researchers also will send a water use survey to these customers. These markets are: Tacoma, Wash.; Toho, Fla., Water Authority; Fort Collins, Colo.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Clayton County, Ga., Water Authority; Denver Water; Region of Peel, ON, Canada; Region of Waterloo, ON, Canada; and San Antonio Water System.

In the remaining 19 markets, researchers will survey 5,000 customers on indoor water use. These markets are: Portland, Ore., Water Bureau; Tampa Bay, Fla., Water; Aurora, Colo., Water; Austin, Texas, Water Utility; Chicago; Henderson, Nev.; Mountain View, Calif.; San Diego; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Cobb County, Ga., Water System; Colorado Springs, Colo., Utilities; Contra Costa, Calif., Water District; EPCOR, Edmonton, AB, Canada; Miami-Dade, Fla., Water & Sewer; Otay, Calif., Water District; Philadelphia Water Department; Regional Water Authority, Conn.; and Cary, N.C.

The updated Residential End Uses of Water Study will be published in 2013 and 2014.