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Analyzing the Socio-Economic Drivers of Water Demand in an Arid, Mediterranean-Climate City

Presentation Date
Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 2:10pm - Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 6:30pm
MC - Poster Hall A-C - South



Los Angeles County (LAC), characterized by its large population, arid climate, and limited local water resources, heavily relies on imported water to meet demand. The region faces challenges exacerbated by increasing temperatures and precipitation inconsistency due to climate change, which may increase the cost and reduce the reliability of imported supplies. LAC’s water supply is highly fragmented with over 70 water providers, making it difficult to collaborate on holistic water resources planning, particularly regarding supply provision and demand reduction. Previous studies, often not specific to LAC, have attempted to understand how water demand correlates with different population factors such as changes in land use, socio-economic demographics, and characteristics of households. However, these metrics are often evaluated separately, overlooking complex interrelationships among the factors that may influence demand. The purpose of this study is to deepen our understanding of how socio-economic demographics and green space influence water demand in LAC, enabling water managers to develop targeted conservation strategies for groups with high demand and incorporate conservation measures into land use planning. Using spatial and statistical analysis techniques, this study aggregates landcover, land class, and demographic data from each water provider service region to identify factors linked to high per capita water use. Preliminary results have found positive correlations between water demand and income, education, household value, number of rooms, and household age, while density of the development was found to decrease demand. Some demographic metrics are highly interrelated; thus, further analysis will be conducted to distinguish between variables that are merely correlated with high water demand and those that cause high water demand. The results of this study are intended to inform LAC-targeted conservation measures as well as provide a methodology and relationship between metrics that is transferable to water scarce cities throughout the United States.

Funding Program Area(s)