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Relationship between single-family residential water use and its determinants: a spatio-temporal study of Phoenix, Arizona

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The dynamics of urban water use are characterized by spatial and temporal variability that is influenced by associated factors at different scales. Thus it is important to capture the relationship between urban water use and its determinants in a spatio-temporal

The dynamics of urban water use are characterized by spatial and temporal variability that is influenced by associated factors at different scales. Thus it is important to capture the relationship between urban water use and its determinants in a spatio-temporal framework in order to enhance understanding and management of urban water demand. This dissertation aims to contribute to understanding the spatio-temporal relationships between single-family residential (SFR) water use and its determinants in a desert city. The dissertation has three distinct papers to support this goal. In the first paper, I demonstrate that aggregated scale data can be reliably used to study the relationship between SFR water use and its determinants without leading to significant ecological fallacy. The usability of aggregated scale data facilitates scientific inquiry about SFR water use with more available aggregated scale data. The second paper advances understanding of the relationship between SFR water use and its associated factors by accounting for the spatial and temporal dependence in a panel data setting. The third paper of this dissertation studies the historical contingency, spatial heterogeneity, and spatial connectivity in the relationship of SFR water use and its determinants by comparing three different regression models. This dissertation demonstrates the importance and necessity of incorporating spatio-temporal components, such as scale, dependence, and heterogeneity, into SFR water use research. Spatial statistical models should be used to understand the effects of associated factors on water use and test the effectiveness of certain management policies since spatial effects probably will significantly influence the estimates if only non-spatial statistical models are used. Urban water demand management should pay attention to the spatial heterogeneity in predicting the future water demand to achieve more accurate estimates, and spatial statistical models provide a promising method to do this job.

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2013