Canadian Municipal Water eBulletin

WRF Report: Residential End Uses of Water, Version 2

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It is essential for water providers and the urban water supply industry to have a detailed understanding of how water is used in residential settings. While water use in homes was studied as early as the 1940s, interest intensified after the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which sought to improve energy and water efficiency. This Act established maximum flow rates for new residential toilets, showerheads, and faucets. Later federal regulations included clothes washers. Water efficiency in homes has also been encouraged by programs like EPA’s WaterSense. 
Until now, the most significant residential end use study conducted in North America was the Water Research Foundation’s 1999 report, Residential End Uses of Water (REU1999) (Mayer et al. 1999). WRF’s new report, Residential End Uses of Water, Version 2 (REU2016) (DeOreo et al. 2016), provides an updated and expanded assessment of water use. It includes more varied study site locations, hot water usage data, more detailed landscape analysis, and additional water rate analysis. 
The new study identifies variations in water use by each fixture or appliance, providing detailed information and data on changes since the REU1999 study. Looking to the future, the study’s research evaluates conservation potential, and includes predictive models to forecast residential demand. 
The decline in water use across the residential sector, even as populations increase, poses new challenges for water utilities. Information on single family home water consumption is significant for utility rate and revenue projections, capital planning (water supply and infrastructure needs), daily operations to provide water, water efficiency programs, and more.

While the data is United States based, many of the findings will still be of interest to Canadian Utilities.

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