Research & Studies

Back to List
In-home Water Use Audit Project (IHWA)

In-home Water Use Audit Project (IHWA)

IHWA website

In Abu Dhabi, the residential sector consumes a significant amount of the potable water produced for the Emirate. Water used in the residential sector also can significantly vary depending on the type of the property. Therefore, understanding how water is being used in Abu Dhabi homes is an important focal point for progressing water sustainability efforts.

The In-home Water Use Audit Project was initiated in November 2014 to study the reasons driving high water consumption in older and larger villas and Shaabbias located in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain

This project follows on the Residential End Use of Water Project in which water consumption data from medium sized villas was collected and analyzed in great details. The aim of this project is to broaden our baseline data on water consumption in the residential sector by studying consumption patterns of the higher water using homes in the Emirate.


The Project

The project was commissioned to achieve the following objectives:

  • Broaden our baseline data through investigating the causes of high water consumption in the residential sector.
  • Determine the potential for water saving opportunities in such homes.
  • Promote positive behavioral change and help Abu Dhabi residents appreciate the real value of our water resources, reduce wastage and increase end use efficiency.

The project targeted residents of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain living in villas and shaabbias and whose consumption was in the red band (greater than 7000L/day).

The project consisted of the following stages:

  • Phase 1: involved recruiting 45 participating homes from a pre-selected list of high water consuming properties in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
  • Phase 2: involved conducting detailed surveys and in homes water use audits for the 45 participating homes. The surveying and auditing exercised comprised of the following activities:

- Irrigation and landscape audit
- Consumer behavioral survey
- Plumbing audit

  • Phase 3: involved analyzing the information gathered and generating statistics on household water usage estimates and patterns.
  • Phase 4: the data analysis phase provided better understanding on water usage in the studied homes and the potential for water saving opportunities was determined. Summary reports on current water use breakdown in the studied homes together with water saving recommendations were provided to the residents to encourage the adoption of Waterwise measures in their homes.


The outcome

Water consumed in all water using household activities such as in bathrooms, kitchens, laundries, and for car washing, outdoor cleaning, water features, irrigation and landscape was estimated using data obtained from the audits.

The summary of breakdown of indoor and outdoor water use as well as a breakdown of the estimated indoor water used for the 45 homes and the breakdown of the estimated outdoor water used for the 45 homes are shown in figures 1, 2, and 3 respectively.


                                       figure 01

Figure 1: Breakdown of indoor vs. outdoor for all 45 houses.



                                       figure 02

Figure 2: Breakdown of estimated indoor water uses for 45 houses



                                      figure 03

Figure 3: Breakdown of estimated outdoor water consumption for 45 homes



The flow rates of households’ water fixtures were measured during the audits. Flow rates were measured for kitchen and bathroom faucets, shower heads and toilet hoses. Toilets’ flush tanks were measured to estimate flush volumes.

The efficiency of households’ fixtures and appliances was compared to Estidama recommended flow rates as presented in Table1 below:

Table 1: Efficiency of household fixtures

table 1


The study identified several water saving opportunities that if implemented would result in more efficient use of water in the studied homes. Water saving opportunities were quantified for each house. The average potential water savings for all houses was estimated to reach 30% reduction in water consumption.


            table 1

Figure 4: Potential water savings from implementing water saving measures


The potential return on investment was estimated. Improving irrigation practices has the highest potential for water savings, followed by interventions that reduce bathroom sink faucet and kitchen faucets consumption had the quickest return. Shower and toilet hoses were mid-range, while toilets were generally with the longest return.


The In-Home Water Use Audit Project provided additional information on water use from larger and older villas and shaabbias in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. The project provided key data on water use patterns in the study homes and identified possible water saving opportunities that can help drive water efficiency in the larger homes.

Information gathered in these studies will support future initiatives to drive water end use efficiencies within the residential sector in Abu Dhabi.


Is your household as water efficient as it can be? Find out!

For more information on the project, please contact Waterwise: