Characterizing the recent decline of water consumption in Italian cities

Noemi Baldino, David Sauri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Investigaciones Geograficas (Spain). All Rights Reserved. There is increasingly more evidence showing that domestic water consumption is decreasing in many urban areas of the developed world. A large and heterogeneous set of factors may explain this decrease, ranging from structural phenomena, such as changes in the composition of urban populations or in the economic basis of cities to the implementation of more conscious policies such as technological improvements; citizen awareness or higher water prices and taxes. In this paper we examine the drop in water consumption for the ten largest Italian cities. The Italian water sector is characterized by a highly fragmented governance structure that results in a significantly inefficient distribution network, which might be highly exposed to the effects of climate change. However, there is strong opposition to privatization. In the paper we document the drop in water consumption in the largest Italian cities showing demographic (aging), social (migration) and economic (income) factors at the same time. Although it is unlikely that one single reason can explain the declining trend, our conclusion points to a combination of structural factors and specific policies that seem to be more intense in the Northern and Central cities than in the Southern cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-21
JournalInvestigaciones Geograficas (Spain)
Issue number69
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Cities
  • Efficiency
  • Italy
  • Population
  • Structural factors
  • Water Consumption


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