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Methods for and estimates of 2003 and projected water use in the Seacoast Region, Southeastern New Hampshire

March 22, 2008

New methods were developed to estimate water use in 2003 and future water demand in 2017 and 2025 in the Seacoast region in southeastern New Hampshire, which has experienced a 37-percent population increase during 1980 to 2000. Water-use activities for which estimates were developed include water withdrawal, delivery, demand, consumptive use, release, return flow, and transfer by registered and aggregated unregistered (less than 20,000 gallons per day (gal/d)) users at the census-block and town scales.

Estimates of water use rely on understanding what influences water demand and its associated consumptive use, because changes in demand and consumptive use affect withdrawal and return flow. Domestic water demand was estimated using a per capita water demand model that related metered deliveries to domestic users with census block and block-group data. The model was used to predict annual, summer, and winter per capita water-demand coefficients for each census block. Significant predictors of domestic water demand include population per housing unit, median value of owner-occupied single family homes, median year of housing construction (with 1900 as the base value), population density, housing unit density, and proportion of housing units that are in urban areas. Mean annual domestic per capita water-demand coefficient in the Seacoast region was 75 gal/d; the coefficient increased to 91 gal/d during the summer and decreased to 65 gal/d during the winter. Domestic consumptive use was estimated as the difference between annual and winter domestic water demand. Estimates of commercial and industrial water demand were based on coefficients derived from reported use and metered deliveries. Projections of water demand in 2017 and 2025 were determined by using the housing and employee projections for those years developed through a Transportation Demand Model and applying current domestic and non-domestic coefficients.

Water demand in 2003 was estimated as 25.8 million gallons per day (Mgal/d), 35 percent of which was during the summer months of June, July, and August. Domestic water demand was 18.6 Mgal/d (72 percent), commercial water demand was 3.7 Mgal/d (14 percent), industrial water demand was 2.9 Mgal/d (11 percent), irrigation water demand was 0.3 Mgal/d (1 percent), and mining and aquaculture water demand was 0.2 Mgal/d (1 percent). Domestic consumptive use for the Seacoast region was 16 percent of domestic water demand, which translates to a loss of 3 Mgal/d over the entire Seacoast region.

In 2003, water withdrawal was 771.2 Mgal/d, of which 742.2 Mgal/d was instream use for hydroelectric power generation and thermoelectric power cooling. The remaining 29.0 Mgal/d was withdrawn by community water systems (22.6 Mgal/d; 72 percent), domestic users (6.4 Mgal/d; 21 percent), commercial users (1.0 Mgal/d; 3 percent), industrial users (1.0 Mgal/d; 3 percent), irrigation (0.2 Mgal/d; 1 percent) and other users (less than 0.1 Mgal/d).

Return flow for 2003 was 772.2 Mgal/d, of which 742.0 Mgal/d was returned following use for hydroelectric power generation and thermoelectric plant cooling. The remaining 30.2 Mgal/d was returned by community wastewater systems (20.2 Mgal/d; 68 percent), domestic users (7.8 Mgal/d; 26 percent), commercial users (1.2 Mgal/d; 3 percent), industrial users (0.8 Mgal/d; 3 percent), and other users (0.1 Mgal/d).

Domestic water demand is projected to increase by 54 percent to 28.7 Mgal/d from 2003 to 2025 based on projection of future population growth. Non-domestic (commercial, industrial, irrigation, and mining) water demand is projected to increase by 66 percent to 11.8 Mgal/d from 2003 to 2025.

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