Integrated assessment of water conservation practices for sustainable management strategies

Mengshan Lee, Florida International University


Miami-Dade County implemented a series of water conservation programs, which included rebate/exchange incentives to encourage the use of high efficiency aerators (AR), showerheads (SH), toilets (HET) and clothes washers (HEW), to respond to the environmental sustainability issue in urban areas. This study first used panel data analysis of water consumption to evaluate the performance and actual water savings of individual programs. Integrated water demand model has also been developed for incorporating property’s physical characteristics into the water consumption profiles. Life cycle assessment (with emphasis on end-use stage in water system) of water intense appliances was conducted to determine the environmental impacts brought by each practice. Approximately 6 to 10 % of water has been saved in the first and second year of implementation of high efficiency appliances, and with continuing savings in the third and fourth years. Water savings (gallons per household per day) for water efficiency appliances were observed at 28 (11.1%) for SH, 34.7 (13.3%) for HET, and 39.7 (14.5%) for HEW. Furthermore, the estimated contributions of high efficiency appliances for reducing water demand in the integrated water demand model were between 5 and 19% (highest in the AR program). Results indicated that adoption of more than one type of water efficiency appliance could significantly reduce residential water demand. For the sustainable water management strategies, the appropriate water conservation rate was projected to be 1 to 2 million gallons per day (MGD) through 2030. With 2 MGD of water savings, the estimated per capita water use (GPCD) could be reduced from approximately 140 to 122 GPCD. Additional efforts are needed to reduce the water demand to US EPA’s “Water Sense” conservation levels of 70 GPCD by 2030. Life cycle assessment results showed that environmental impacts (water and energy demands and greenhouse gas emissions) from end-use and demand phases are most significant within the water system, particularly due to water heating (73% for clothes washer and 93% for showerhead). Estimations of optimal lifespan for appliances (8 to 21 years) implied that earlier replacement with efficiency models is encouraged in order to minimize the environmental impacts brought by current practice.

Subject Area

Natural Resource Management|Water Resource Management|Environmental science|Environmental engineering

Recommended Citation

Lee, Mengshan, "Integrated assessment of water conservation practices for sustainable management strategies" (2011). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3484207.