Determinants of Household Water Use in the City of Kalamazoo, Michigan: The Role of Climate and Socioeconomic Factors

Publication Year:
2018
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Repository URL:
https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/masters_theses/3409
Author(s):
Molenaar, Danielle
Tags:
Water resources; management; household water use; climate; socioeconomic
thesis / dissertation description
Located in the Great Lakes Watershed, the City of Kalamazoo can be considered “water rich”. Therefore, the area has been absent from water use studies. Water use studies are beneficial in all locations; as they can aid city planners, water resource managers, and utility companies. This study examines how household monthly water use in the City of Kalamazoo is impacted by both climate and socioeconomic variables over the period 2006-2016. Household level data were aggregated into census tracts to obtain monthly tract averages for the eleven-year period. Ordinary least squares regression (OLS) was used to determine which variables impact the City of Kalamazoo’s household water use the most. The independent variables used were: maximum, minimum, and average monthly temperature, monthly total precipitation, average number individuals per house per census tract, median income per census tract, and percent of individuals 25 years or older with a bachelor’s degree or higher per census tract. Subsequently, geographically weighted regression (GWR) was performed to determine the significance of location upon tract water use patterns. Results indicate the variables with the most statistical significance are maximum temperature (p < 0.001) and income (p = 0.002). The OLS model including climate variables predicts 25% of water use variation and the OLS model with the socioeconomic variables predicts about 10% of water use for the City of Kalamazoo. GWR models did not improve upon results from OLS.