Residential water information management

Jacobs, H. E. (2008-12)

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The hitherto undefined term 'water information management' (WIM) as it relates to residential water use is defined in this article as follows: 'To better manage the information pertaining to how and when water is used at home.' Effective WDM is based on effective WIM. This article underlines the importance of managing information, obtained from data, to manage water use. A review of residential water use, with a specific focus on end-uses of demand and information pertaining to it, is presented. Two types of data flow pertaining to water use at residential properties are identified. Type 1 information describes the monthly water use at a residential property recorded in the LA's financial billing system, while Type 2 information describes end-uses on a particular property. End-use models of water demand require Type 2 data as input, are renowned to be data hungry and are often arduous to populate. A method for populating the model parameters with a Web-based tool is also addressed. Success at gaining parameter values for end-use modelling via Web-based tools has been somewhat limited to date, but it is hoped that future improvements in simplifying the input requirement would lead to practical application. A former pilot study in CCT tested the capturing of input data, but did not extend beyond this somewhat limited functionality. Work is currently progressing on the international front to a point of practical application. It is hoped that application locally would soon follow suit. In addition to LAs and their demand management consultants gaining access to valuable end-use information with a Web-based tool, application of such a tool at household level would serve as a means for user education – home owners would learn more about their own water use, identify the most significant end-uses at home and be empowered to save water more effectively by focusing water saving efforts at 'the right' end-uses. In addition, the tool would provide valuable data inputs for research into end-use modelling of water use.

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