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Future Water Demands: The Role of Technology and User Behaviour
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1  School of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK

Published: 31 October 2013 by MDPI in The 3rd World Sustainability Forum session Related Topics
Abstract: The traditional water supply management approach focuses on (perceived) community requirements that must be met, but not on community demands, which are variable. Therefore a paradigm-shift is required to the way water is considered. In this paper the impact of two distinct approaches for managing the urban water demand, thus daily water consumption, within residential and office buildings are examined through a futures framework. The two fundamental management measures to influence water demand are: 1) structural and technical measures (via adopting water-saving devices); and 2) socio-political measure (via changing users’ behaviour). Both align well with UK policy drivers and results show each in isolation has similar impacts (i.e. 55% reduction) on domestic water consumption per capita, although the ranges over which user behaviour can operate appears to be far more diverse. Most strikingly, when these measures are considered in combination greater impact (i.e. 80% reduction) could be achieved. Conclusions are drawn as to how far water demand management, through a dual track approach, can go in terms of reducing indoor water consumption of both residential and office users and discusses what else is needed in this respect to help contribute to securing sufficient, sustainable supplies within a ‘liveable’ future.