Singles drive up water demand Down Under

The growing trend of living alone is set to skew well-established models of water consumption in Australia's towns and cities.

Settlements are now expected to see water use surge as more and more people choose the life of the singleton.

Water authorities have, in the past, based predictions of water use on the likely increase in population and ongoing progress in urban consolidation.

But according to reports in The Australian newspaper, demand for water is likely to outstrip population growth by up to 35% over the next 25 years in the country’s major cities.

Social habits are changing and many factors are increasing the numbers of people living alone.

Rising divorce rates, a decrease in the number of people who choose to marry in the first place and people choosing to remain in the family home after children have flown the nest and partners have died are all contributing to the trend.

Studies in Melbourne have shown that the average water use for the first occupant is 220 litres per day, 176 for the second and 110 for the third and subsequent occupant.

This social trend coupled with less-than-rosy expectations for future rainfall (see related story) could leave the country facing serious water shortages in years to come.

By Sam Bond

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie