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Study on Homeowner Water Usage

Orange County water district funds two-year research project by UCR environmental economists

Two environmental economists at the University of California, Riverside have been awarded a $184,000 grant by the Moulton Niguel Water District (MNWD) to evaluate what motivates homeowners to reduce water use, and which conservation programs are most cost-effective.

Researchers Kurt Schwabe and Ken Baerenklau – both associate professors of environmental economics and policy in the UCR School of Public Policy – will identify agency, household, environmental and community-level factors that influence water-conservation decisions and outcomes among single-family residential households in the Orange County water district.

MNWD was formed in 1960 and provides water, recycled water and wastewater service to approximately 170,000 people in the cities of Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo and Dana Point.

“Developing effective water conservation strategies requires information on past, current, and anticipated future household-level decisions regarding water conservation,” the researchers said. “It also requires an understanding of how agency programs and customer actions interact with one another, with current and future potential pricing and rebate policies, and with characteristics of residential households and their surrounding social, demographic, and physical environment.”

The two-year study, “Analysis of Water Conservation Drivers for Effective Water Management,” will focus on current district incentives to conserve water such as turf removal, installation of synthetic turf, and purchase of high-efficiency/front-load washers and high-efficiency/low-flow toilets.

Source: UCR Today

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