Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

David E. Rosenberg


David E. Rosenberg


Gilberto Urroz


Terrence F. Glover


This thesis identifies impacts of behaviors and technology on residential indoor water use and conservation efforts. We use pre-existing detailed end-use data collected before and after toilets, faucets, showerheads, and clothes washers were retrofitted in 96 owner-occupied, single-family households in Oakland, California; Seattle, Washington; and Tampa, Florida between 2000 and 2003.

Water volume, duration of use, and time of use were recorded and disaggregated by appliance for two weeks before and four weeks after appliances were retrofitted. For each appliance, we compare observed differences in water use before and after retrofits to water savings predicted by analytical engineering, semi-analytical engineering, and econometric regression methods.

Results show that observed and predicted distributions of water savings are skewed with a small number of households showing potential to save more water. Results also show the relative and significant influence on water saved of both technological (flow rates of appliances) and behavioral (length of use, frequency of use) factors. Additionally, the number of residents, and the performance and the frequency of use of the appliance are the key factors that distinguish households that save the most water from households that save less. Study results help improve engineering methods to estimate water savings from retrofits and allow water utilities to better target subcategories of households that have potential to save more water.




This work made publicly available electronically on October 1, 2010.