Articles | Volume 17, issue 10
Research article
15 Oct 2013
Research article |  | 15 Oct 2013

Household water use and conservation models using Monte Carlo techniques

R. Cahill, J. R. Lund, B. DeOreo, and J. Medellín-Azuara

Abstract. The increased availability of end use measurement studies allows for mechanistic and detailed approaches to estimating household water demand and conservation potential. This study simulates water use in a single-family residential neighborhood using end-water-use parameter probability distributions generated from Monte Carlo sampling. This model represents existing water use conditions in 2010 and is calibrated to 2006–2011 metered data. A two-stage mixed integer optimization model is then developed to estimate the least-cost combination of long- and short-term conservation actions for each household. This least-cost conservation model provides an estimate of the upper bound of reasonable conservation potential for varying pricing and rebate conditions. The models were adapted from previous work in Jordan and are applied to a neighborhood in San Ramon, California in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area. The existing conditions model produces seasonal use results very close to the metered data. The least-cost conservation model suggests clothes washer rebates are among most cost-effective rebate programs for indoor uses. Retrofit of faucets and toilets is also cost-effective and holds the highest potential for water savings from indoor uses. This mechanistic modeling approach can improve understanding of water demand and estimate cost-effectiveness of water conservation programs.