Urban water crises driven by elites' unsustainable consumption
Relative to previous accounts of water inequalities across urban spaces, this interdisciplinary model simulates and quantifies the long-term trends of these unequal water consumption patterns along with their impacts on the city's water balance.
At an urban scale, the main variables are the reservoir storage, municipal water polices, public water demand, private water demand and private water sources. The model structure shows how the water consumption of every household is aggregated into five different social groups, which differently affect the urban water balance either by reducing the water available in the municipal reservoir or by reducing the availability of private water sources.
These political-economic conditions enabled unsustainable water consumption by elites through the establishment of world-class services in privileged urban areas and the creation of unsafe spaces with substandard services on the outskirts of the city. The water cost C is calculated as the product of the water tariff T and the total water use (the sum of water demand from basic water needs and amenities M; see the following).
We first calculated the private water demand Pr, and we assessed the public water demand Pu as the difference between total water use and private water. To understand the manner and extent to which the unsustainable water consumption of privileged groups influences the water balance of a city, this work simulates and compares the occurrence of five different scenarios of water consumption.
We multiplied the model parameter values by three and found a higher water consumption leading to lower reservoir values and higher dependency on additional water sources as water fees increased.
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