Predictors of Variations in Residential Water Consumption in Central Texas
Potter, Lloyd B.
Tremaine, Darrel M.
Banner, Jay L.
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Background: The 100th Meridian in Texas aligns with a corridor of large and rapidly growing urban areas with a growing water demand and limited supply. Understanding the variations in residential water consumption may assist with identifying the characteristics associated with disproportionate water consumption that may be responsive to policy changes and enforcement. Methods: Data from the San Antonio Water System, the Bexar County Appraisal District, and the American Community Survey were utilized. The average daily water consumption was estimated for the seasons and a total year for more than 300,000 single-family residences between 2009 and 2015. The presence of a swimming pool, residential parcel hectares, size of the living space, and per capita income were examined as predictors of the variations in residential water consumption using hierarchal modeling. Results: The presence of swimming pools and a residential property's value were the strongest predictors of water consumption. Parcel hectares and household income were positively associated with water consumption. A quartile analysis of select independent variables identified the disproportionate variations of water consumption of units with large yards, swimming pools, and high values. Conclusions: The findings indicate a strong association between variations in residential water consumption and both irrigation and swimming pool water used, which emphasize a need to focus conservation efforts on higher-valued housing and residences with swimming pools and the consideration of tiered pricing.