Water use patterns and conservation in households of Wei River Basin, China

Fan, L.; Liu, G.; Wang, F.; Geissen, V.; Ritsema, C.J.


Fully understanding patterns of water use and water conservation among different consumer groups will help in implementing more effective water conservation programs worldwide. Consequently, we investigated water use patterns, water conservation practices, attitudes, and hindrances to water conservation by randomly surveying 776 households in the Weinan, Yanglin–Wugong, and Baoji districts in the middle of the Wei River Basin. The results of the study reveal that water consumption for domestic use of 70.2 L per capita per day (Lpcd), 31.9 L of which is allocated for outdoor use. Households with high water consumption consume more water for watering vegetable gardens and cleaning their houses and yards, and employ more appliances and apparatuses that use water. A total of 20 conservation practices were reported by of which 11 were used by the majority of residents. Residents prefer to implement the most convenient and low-cost water conservation practices. The households with low water consumption were likely to conserve water because of economic concerns, but their unwillingness to change traditional habits prevent them from conserving water. For households with high water consumption groups, environmental concerns drive them to conserve water, their unwillingness to devote additional time and energy and the lack of social support are the main hindrances to water conservation. Public education programs on water use and conservation for rural communities need to fully consider these limitations to change traditional views and behaviors toward the use of water appliances and improving quality of life, as well as employing outdoor water conservation, pro-environmental education, and price transparency to promote the judicious use of water. The results obtained can be used as guidelines for establishing policies for community water conservation.