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Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • behavior;
  • demand management;
  • demographics;
  • efficient appliances;
  • household water conservation

[1] Securing water supplies in urban areas is a major challenge for policy makers, both now and into the future. This study aimed to identify the key determinants of household water use, with a view to identifying those factors that could be targeted in water demand management campaigns. Objective water use data and surveys were collected from 1008 households in four local government areas of southeast Queensland, Australia. Results showed that demographic, psychosocial, behavioral, and infrastructure variables all have a role to play in determining household water use. Consistent with past research, household occupancy was the most important predictor of water use. Households in regions recently exposed to drought conditions and higher-level restrictions also used less water than those who had less experience with drought. The effect of water efficient technology was mixed: some water efficient appliances were associated with less water use, while others were associated with more water use. Results also demonstrated the importance of considering water use as a collective behavior that is influenced by household dynamics. Households who reported a stronger culture of water conservation used less water. These findings, along with evidence that good water-saving habits are linked to water conservation, highlight the value of policies that support long-term cultural shifts in the way people think about and use water.