Study: Colorado River Basin Residents Using Less Water Outdoors in 2022

Flume Data Labs released the Q2 2022 update to the Household Water Use Index, the leading measure of U.S. household water use. Flume Data Labs publishes the Household Water Use Index quarterly, regularly assessing water use across the top 15 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). Analysis is based on data from tens of thousands of sensors installed on household water meters across the nation.

Flume Data Labs’ analysis shows that in single-family homes within Colorado River Basin-dependent states, average outdoor water use decreased in Q2 2022 versus Q1 2021. While in the rest of the nation, average outdoor use increased.

Indoor Per Capita Water Use

National indoor water use in Q2 2022 averaged 41.0 Gallons per Capita per Day (GPCD) in Q2 2022.

Regionally, indoor water use varied in Q2 2022 from a high of 49.0 GPCD in the Phoenix, Arizona MSA to a low of 35.6 GPCD in the San Francisco, Bay Area MSA. Indoor water use continues to decrease after the spike in usage following the outbreak of COVID in 2020. On a national scale, the lingering impacts of increased indoor residential use appear to be over and water use has fallen below pre-COVID averages.

Outdoor Per Capita Water Use

Nationally, outdoor water use in Q2 2022 increased compared to that of Q2 2021. Outdoor Household Water Use averaged 210.8 Gallons per Household per Day (GPHD) in Q2 2022. In Q2 2021, outdoor use averaged 206.5 GPHD.

Outdoor Water Use in Colorado River Basin States

For more than 20 years, an extended mega-drought has unfolded across much of the West with an especially dramatic impact on Colorado River Basin states. Lake Powell and Lake Mead on the Colorado River have fallen to critically low levels prompting water utilities across the west to seek demand reductions. In 2022, this drought prompted many water providers to implement outdoor water use restrictions starting in Q2 2022.

Analysis from Flume Data Labs indicates water users in Colorado River-dependent states reduced outdoor water use in 2022. Average outdoor GPHD in the Colorado Basin States was lower in Q2 2022 than Q2 2021, even as temperatures increased. In Q2 2022, average outdoor water use in Colorado River Basin states was 244.5 GPHD, a reduction of 27% compared to Q2 2021. In contrast, average outdoor water use in states that do not rely on the Colorado River increased by 25% in Q2 2022.

Still, even with these reductions, outdoor water use in Colorado River Basin states is often higher than in other parts of the US as places like Arizona, southern Nevada, and California sees year-round outdoor watering.

Flume Data Labs analyzed outdoor water use in four Colorado Basin states more closely – Arizona, California, Colorado, and Nevada. Average outdoor water use in Arizona and California decreased during Q2 2022. But in Colorado and Nevada, outdoor watering during Q2 2022 increased. Local weather patterns have a significant impact on outdoor watering and may explain some of these differences in outdoor water use.

“Water users in California and Arizona appear to have responded to calls for outdoor use reductions at the beginning of the summer,” said Peter Mayer, P.E., Principal of WaterDM, an expert consultant to the water industry for more than 25 years. “Most of the water savings Flume Data Labs detected through this analysis was achieved in those two states. California utilities, in particular, have imposed outdoor use restrictions during the summer of 2022.”

Flume Data Labs understands the unique challenges faced by organizations that touch water. Flume Data Labs uses real-time data monitoring to collect and understand how residential water is used. Utilizing a nationwide network of data sensors and one-of-a-kind analysis, Flume Data Labs provides a dynamic informed response to changing conditions and local challenges. To date, Flume Data Labs has tens of thousands of devices installed across the United States.

Speak Your Mind

In Business Dailies

Sign up for a complimentary year of In Business Dailies with a bonus Digital Subscription of In Business Magazine delivered to your inbox each month!

  • Get the day’s Top Stories
  • Relevant In-depth Articles
  • Daily Offers
  • Coming Events