In order to inform the development of a municipal/utility BMP or guideline for residential higher water users this research project will attempt to:
  • Identify if municipalities/utilities are actively working to collect their residential customer water consumption data.
  • Identify how municipalities are using their residential customer consumption data to understand when water is being used, by who and for what purposes.
  • Understand what initiatives, if any, municipalities/utilities are using to address higher than average water consumption in this customer category and lessons learned.
  • Determine if any initiatives are being monitored and how progress is being measured.

Single family residential water consumption is typically the greatest customer category of water demand within any given municipality. This is true, even though recent studies have found that average water use among these customers is decreasing (2016 REUS study). These studies also suggest that it is possible for residential water consumption to continue to decrease further as “...observed reductions in household use are largely due to more efficient fixtures and appliances and not the result of changes in either occupancy or behaviour.”

Conservation programming, whether it is through education, market transformation, incentives, policy, or building code will continue to result in a further decrease in average residential LCD water demand into the future. Meanwhile, municipalities will also continue to observe that a portion of their residential customer base continues to use well above the average LCD. Some of these households have high water use related to old fixtures (eg. toilets and washers), leaks or landscape watering practices. However, if only water consumption per account data is being used to establish who are the Residential High Water Users (RHWU’s) the resulting list generated may include some ‘false positives’. By this it is meant that although a particular household or account is registering higher than average water use it may be the result of legitimate consumption by higher than average occupancy or greater than average lot size, etc. Therefore some further strategies/techniques are required for municipal water managers to better understand how the water being delivered to the customer is actually being used.

Undoubtedly, there are methods (eg. ‘Big Data’ solutions, or field observations/GIS) which could help to provide that level of detail about the customer, but little exists in the way of best practices or guidelines to assist municipal/utility water managers in developing initiatives to better understand their customer data and distinguish true RHWU’s from false positives. This research is a starting point to help understand what, if any, strategies are being used to address this water management issue and how those strategies are performing.

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* 1. Municipality/Organization

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* 2. Email address for follow up questions