Unravelling the Influence of Climate: Results from Climate Corrected Water Demand



Sometimes-controversial water restrictions can be very effective…

“Demand is on the decline in many communities across Canada, but how much of this is because of municipal water efficiency programs? Improvements to building Kirk Stinchcombe - Econics - (2013)_120pcodes, better appliance and fixture technology and broader changes in community behaviour and customs all have a huge impact on water consumption. So does climate,” states Kirk Stinchcombe.

“How do you know whether variations in climate or progressive water conservation programs are controlling demand?”

“This is what the Region of Waterloo’s Water Efficiency Manager, Steve Gombos, wanted to know. Total and peak consumption have been falling in the Region since the early 2000s, but can that be attributed to the ‘one day per week’ watering restriction?”

“To find the answer, we isolated total demand from climate factors. We compared demand for climate-similar years and ‘corralled’ climate effects on demand using statistical regression analysis and trend tracking.”

“Our analysis concluded that total and peak demand has indeed been decreasing independently from climate influences. This means that the Region’s strong conservation program is likely having a major influence, indicating that the hard work of Gombos and his team is paying off,” concludes Kirk Stinchcombe.

To Learn More:

For a more detailed write-up on the analysis, click on the link to download and read the article in the 2013 fall edition of the Canadian Municipal Water News & Review.

This work was undertaken by J.P. Joly, Ben Robinson and Kirk Stinchcombe from Econics, with support from Steve Gombos from the Region of Waterloo and Dr. Bahaa Khalil from McGill University, and using a tool provided by the Government of New South Wales in Australia. Econics is a BC-based firm that helps water service providers manage demand, forecast revenue, design utility rates, engage with communities and sustain their watersheds.