Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2011 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Single-Family Residential Water Consumption in Baltimore City: A Case for More Trees
Myers, Thomas
Co-Authors: Thomas Myers and Bernadette Hanlon

Abstract: In this presentation, we examine the determinants of single-family residential water consumption in Baltimore City. Using linear regression analysis, we found that household size, the square footage of a residence, and the proportion of tree canopy to lawn area within residential parcels influence single-family residential water consumption in the city. Our results suggest that residences with more tree canopy area than lawn consume less water than those without trees or with more lawn than trees. We compared our linear regression model results to those of a Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) to determine the spatial effects of the variables. Overall, the GWR model was an improvement on the linear model, and we found the effect of tree canopy area and household size was highly significant for certain census block groups. The square footage of a residence was highly significant in nearly all block groups. Our results suggest that a change in household size had less effect on water consumption in more affluent neighborhoods. In the case of tree canopy area, the effects on water consumption were greater in neighborhoods that have the largest lawns. The model parameter estimates can be used to identify neighborhoods in the city where the potential for reducing water consumption is greatest.