Residential Water Use

Variations in land use patterns and their related building profiles lead to substantial differences in residential water use and cost. Residential water use is a function of both indoor and outdoor water needs, with outdoor use (landscape irrigation) accounting for the majority of the difference among housing types. Because homes with larger yards require more water for landscape irrigation, lot size is generally correlated with a household’s overall water consumption. Thus, scenarios with a greater proportion of the Standard place type, which includes more larger-lot single-family homes, require more water than scenarios with a greater proportion of Compact or Urban development, which include more attached and multifamily homes, and smaller-lot single-family homes.

Assuming the same modest improvements for all scenarios, there are the potential savings attributable to land use patterns and building program alone. Compared to Past Trends, which uses 91 billion gallons of water per year in 2050, Planned Future uses 88 billion gallons, or 3%, less; Focused Growth uses 84 billion gallons, or 8%, less; and Maximum Infill uses 83 billion gallons, or 9%, less. Cumulatively, the water savings are substantial: by 2050, Focused Growth uses 156 billion gallons less water – enough to supply over 46,000 homes for a year; that difference rises to 53,000 homes in the Maximum Infill scenario. When combined with the effects of more stringent building and landscape policies, which would reduce the amount of indoor and outdoor water used, water use could be reduced even further.

Community Insight

“The insight2050 report shows us a good contrast in future growth scenarios that will greatly affect the amount of new water infrastructure our region will need to construct. In addition, how we grow will greatly influence how our region uses water for decades to come and may determine if we continue to be a water-rich community.”

—Glenn Marzluf, PE – General Manager at Del-Co Water

Cumulative Residential Water Use to 2050 (gallons)

Annual Residential Water Use per Household in 2050 (gallons)