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Practices by proxy: climate, consumption and water

Anderson, Ben and Browne, Alison and Medd, Will (2012) Practices by proxy: climate, consumption and water. In: Living Costs and Food Survey user meeting, 20/3/2012, Royal Statistical Society, London.

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Domestic water-using practices are embedded within wide and complex systems at all levels of scale, from the micro (individuals, technologies) through the meso (neighbourhoods, families, locales and distributed networks and systems) to the macro (infrastructures of provision, regulation and systems of normative values). Yet current domestic water demand modelling tends to focus solely on household composition and price. In the context of future UK population growth, of potentially uncertain rainfall volumes and cycles and of increasingly carbon and cash intensive treatment costs a more nuanced approach to water demand modelling is crucial to the water-using and water-producing sector's response to climate change. This paper explores a novel approach to the exploration of the complex inter-relationships between water use, water infrastructures and climatic variation in UK households. We do this not by observing water 'demand' per se but by using consumption expenditures as proxies for metered water demand and for water uses and by then linking them, through the Expenditure and Food Survey/Living Costs and Food Survey, to regional climatic variation from 2002 to 2009. The results show not only how water use, everyday consumption practices and climatic variation are inter-twinned but they also reinforce the argument that to understand current and future water use we need to consider far more than price, demographics and utilitarian conceptions of value.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Ben Anderson
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2012 09:53
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014 11:16

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