Residential Water End Use Study
Understanding how, when and why water is used is essential for managing demand in cost-effective and equitable ways. Detailed knowledge of the quantities of water used in different circumstances is critical to planning for water security. This project aimed to remotely collect and analyse residential water end use data of households in unprecedented detail. Strategically, it analysed a sub-sample of households studied in the Demand Management and Communication project also undertaken by the Alliance. The project sought to enable government and water businesses to target communication efforts, water strategies, rebate programs and other actions to areas of highest effect.
The project first developed methods and a baseline of water use. This included high resolution water meters, remote data transfer loggers, household water appliance audits and sophisticated software analysis. Our focus then moved to understanding seasonal variations and to test the response of water end uses to a range of interventions and questioning. Research questions included:
- What is the detailed seasonal water use breakdown?
- How do water end uses differ between different household demographic categories?
- How do water end uses of households with different appliance star ratings compare?
- What are the detailed water end use diurnal patterns in hourly intervals across seasons?
- What does an analysis of leakage volumes and leak typology patterns reveal?
- How do water end uses before and after a range of interventions compare?
Key Publications and Outputs
- Technical Reports 31, 47, and 91
- Conference papers listed on the Alliance website
- Proceedings of the Alliance Science Forums
The baseline analysis captured data from 252 homes in Ipswich, Brisbane, and the Gold and Sunshine Coast regions - South East Queensland Residential End Use Study: Baseline Results - Winter 2010. Key points include:
- There was some non-compliant irrigation particularly for homes in some regions
- Leaking toilets are more widespread than previously reported
- Water efficient showers and tap fittings are excellent least cost measures
- Changing to efficient washing machines significantly reduces water consumption
- High per capita water consumption occurs for older, lower income, and smaller-sized households.
Beal. C, Stewart, RA., Huang, TT., Rey, E. (2011) Applying smart metering technology to disaggregate residential water end uses in South East Queensland. Journal of the Australian Water Association, 38 (1), 80-84. Copies can be provided on request to the author.
Beal, C., Stewart, R. and Fielding, K. (In press) A novel mixed method smart metering approach to reconciling differences between perceived and actual residential end use water consumption. Journal of Cleaner Production (2011) doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.09.007.
Beal, C., Stewart, R., Spinks, A. and Fielding, K. (2011) Using smart meters to identify social and technological impacts on residential water consumption. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply 11(5), 527-533.
Beal, C.D., Stewart, R.A., Bertone, E (2012) Evaluating the energy and carbon reductions resulting from resource-efficient household stock. Energy and Buildings, in press, DOI 10.1016/j.enbuild.2012.08.004.
The findings of this research are highly relevant to the four water businesses in SEQ where the sampled households are located, other local government water businesses across Queensland and the Department of Energy and Water Supply.
Dr Rodney Stewart, Griffith University
Ph: +61 7 5552 8778