Residential Water Consumption in the OWASA Service Area: Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • February 28, 2019
  • Kauffman, Rebecca M.
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
  • The Orange Water & Sewer Authority (OWASA) contracted with the Department of Environmental Sciences & Engineering to conduct a two-stage study involving current water consumption. This study is intended to help OWASA determine conservation and pricing strategies in accordance with their Comprehensive Water & Sewer Master Plan. The goal in Phase I, described in this technical report, is to understand residential consumption. Preliminary screening and analysis was performed in Phase I that will help guide the content in Phase II. This report addresses patterns of residential water consumption and uses a linear regression model to identify factors related to consumption and assess effects of passive conservation. Residential users consume an average of approximately 6,000 gallons per month per household. Single family households use almost 60 percent more water than multi-family housing units. Summer outdoor use accounts for approximately 55 to 60 percent of the total use for multi and single family households, respectively. Factors significantly associated with monthly consumption include the assessed value of the house, property area, type of housing unit, whether or not the house was constructed before 1994, average monthly temperature, and the number of days of precipitation per month. Passive conservation, which is the reduction in consumption due to water-saving devices, was prompted by the plumbing code regulations in 1994 that require new homes to contain more efficient fixtures. Houses constructed before 1994 consume approximately 500 gallons per month per household more than those built after the 1994 regulations. Further work is needed to verify results from Phase I. Some of the tasks may include collecting additional secondary data on house construction date, collecting primary data via a household survey, and assessing the validity of the Aquilium database.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Lauria, Donald T.
  • Characklis, Gregory
  • Serre, Marc
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering
Academic concentration
  • Environmental Engineering
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2001
Deposit record
  • 8daa46ae-58bd-4ddf-8097-0c44062f7d48

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