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Agent-Based Model to Manage Household Water Use Through Motivation and Opportunity Change

Authors: Ryan James David E Rosenberg
Owners: Ryan James iUTAH Data Manager
Resource type: Generic
Storage: The size of this resource is 1.3 GB
Created: Jun 21, 2018 at 4:55 p.m.
Last updated: Jul 26, 2018 at 2:55 a.m. by Ryan James
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Sharing Status: Public
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Municipal water managers face increasing challenges to manage already over allocated water resources due to changes in climate, technology and infrastructure, and conflicting goals set by stakeholders. To address these challenges, researchers have used unvalidated agent-based models and water pricing as means to test new management strategies to increase water conservation adoption by household users. In addition, water use reduction has been found to be inelastic to its cost, as the decision-making process made by household users whether to conserve water is still relatively unknown. Managers need more information on how households use and decide to change their water use to better address these growing challenges. This project addresses how to quantify the household decision making process by merging psychological attributes (Motivation, Social Network Influence, Opportunity, Encouragement) with known physical household attributes to further explain water use. This was achieved by using survey, landscape, high-frequency indoor appliance water use, and weather data as input to a household water use in an agent-based model framework. This data is specific to Logan UT and comes from the iUTAH 2014 survey, Utah mapping portal, local weather monitoring stations, and studies of indoor water use. The resulting agent-based model is used to observe and illustrate how Logan UT household water use could change if the needs of the household’s psychological attributes are met. Validation of the model’s outputted water use was achieved using Logan UT 2014 linked water use and billing. Results show that water use validation worked well for indoor use with the matching of appliances to the number of people living within the home because the high-frequency indoor appliance data used was a good representation of indoor water use, whereas outdoor use validation was more difficult due to the wide variation in plant and soil composition of households, landscape watering methods including secondary water use, and residential behaviors of over and under watering. Households with high Motivation, Social Network Influence, and Opportunity behavioral attributes saved more water than those that did not. Encouragement alone did not increase water conservation very much. However, when combined with Social Network Influence, they had a much larger impact on how households made decisions, and that the size and shape of the network structure mattered less than the quality of the content being shared through the network. These results suggest water managers could increase household water conservation by being aware of specific behavioral attribute that contribute to the conservation adoption processes, which could be determined through the use of annual surveys. Water managers should also include a bottom-up information exchange network amongst households into existing top-down management strategies to further increase the chance that household water users will respond to management strategies. This database contains the following: 1) the 1_ArcMap Folder which contains an ArcMap desktop files used to determine the landscape data; 2) the 2_Data Compile Folder which contains all data that was used to complete this project and produce the model inputs; 3) the 3_ABM Model Folder which holds the project agent-based model, its inputs and results; 4) the 4_R Code Folder which holds the R code used to generate results for the published research paper. All of which is detailed in the accompanying Read Me file.

Resource Level Coverage


Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude



Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
National Science Foundation iUTAH-innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-sustainability. OIA – 1208732

How to Cite

James, R., D. E. Rosenberg (2018). Agent-Based Model to Manage Household Water Use Through Motivation and Opportunity Change, HydroShare, http://www.hydroshare.org/resource/4e867b564a054b91bcb1fc3148986b58

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.



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