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Planning for Drought? Look Outdoors

Flume Data Labs Household Water Use Index Reveals Water Use Patterns in Q1 2022 for Drought

Today, Flume Data Labs released the Q1 2022 update to the Household Water Use Index, the leading measure of U.S. household water use.

Flume Data Lab’s analysis shows that in single-faAmily homes across America, outdoor use is a significant driver of water demand, even in winter months. Flume Data Labs publishes the Household Water Use Index quarterly, regularly assessing water use across the top 15 Metropolitan Service Areas (MSAs). Analysis is based on data from tens of thousands of sensors installed on household water meters across the nation.

Indoor Per Capita Water Use

National indoor water use in Q1 2022 decreased compared to that of Q1 2021. Indoor Household Water Use averaged 41.5 Gallons per Capita per Day (GPCD) in Q1 2022. In Q1 2021, indoor use averaged 47.4 GPCD.

Regionally, indoor water use varies, but in general, indoor water use continues to decrease after the spike in usage following the outbreak of COVID in 2020. On a national scale, the lingering impacts of increased indoor residential use appear to be over and water use has even fallen below pre-COVID averages.

Regional Outdoor Water Use Patterns and Drought

For communities facing drought, knowing where to save water is crucial to water conservation. Appliance and fixture level data from 2021 and Q1 2022 show that the greatest opportunity for water savings is outdoors. Indoor use fluctuates much less across MSAs and seasons than outdoor water use, which varies widely across the United States. In MSAs with snow and freezing temperatures, most outdoor watering disappears in the winter months and rebounds in summer. In MSAs with warm winter weather, outdoor water use remains significant throughout the year.

Flume Data Labs analysis shows that in the summer months of 2021, homes in Phoenix, Riverside, and Los Angeles MSAs watered a median 3-5 days a week. In Miami, Dallas, and Houston MSAs, this number was around 2-3 days a week. However, in all communities, outdoor watering almost completely disappeared during rain events. This data is vital in understanding outdoor watering patterns as many Western States prepare for extreme drought conditions and are considering restricting or reducing the numbers of watering days allowed. To that point, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a regional wholesaler, just released new outdoor watering restrictions for parts of San Bernardino, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties.

Additional water savings opportunities exist in outdoor landscaping. In the San Francisco Bay Area MSA, outdoor water use by people with pools was significantly higher than those without. Additionally, those that use sprinkler systems use significantly more water outdoors than those that use drip irrigation or a garden hose, as shown in Figure 1.

“Outdoor water use offers the greatest opportunity for water savings in regions that are experiencing drought,” said Peter Mayer, P.E., Principal of WaterDM, an expert consultant to the water industry for more than 25 years. “This analysis shows that even during winter months, some form of outdoor use remains a factor in many parts of America – especially in warmer climates. Understanding how and where we use water is essential information for homeowners and water utilities seeking to manage limited supplies.”

About Flume Data Labs

Flume Data Labs understands the unique challenges faced by organizations that touch water. Flume Data Labs uses real-time data monitoring to collect and understand how residential water is used. Utilizing a nationwide network of data sensors and one-of-a-kind analysis, Flume Data Labs provides a dynamic informed response to changing conditions and local challenges. To date, Flume Data Labs has tens of thousands of devices installed across the United States.

This article was shared with Prittle Prattle News as a Press Release.
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