About the Project

How does gender impact the way people in Los Angeles use water—and can understanding the connections between gender and water use help us find new ways to conserve?

CSW Associate Director Jessica Cattelino (PI) and CSW Director Rachel Lee (Co-PI) were recently awarded a grant from UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge program in order to tackle these questions. Her pioneering new research project, “Gender and Everyday Water Use in Los Angeles,” will be the first of its kind and will ask new questions about how to conserve water for future generations. Along with ten other initiatives funded as part of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge this year, this study will help researchers and policymakers envision and build a more sustainable future for Los Angeles in the face of climate change.

The study will examine how gender shapes the way that people use, value, and save water on an everyday basis. It is well known that women disproportionately procure and manage household water in developing nations. Despite the fact that household work and decision-making remain highly gendered in the United States, there is little scholarship on gender and residential water use here. Selecting four diverse Los Angeles neighborhoods, CSW researchers will observe everyday gendered water practices, not only studying women but also documenting indoor and outdoor water practices for all adults over a two-year period.

By using a combination of anthropological methods—surveys, participant observation, etc.—and by explicitly using gender as an analytical lens, this study will reveal new data about how gender intersects with race and class to inform the way that Angelenos use water, and ways that we might conserve. CSW researchers will use the results of this study to advise legislators and policymakers on how to reduce water use, increase use of greywater, and encourage other sustainable indoor and outdoor residential practices.

More info on UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge:


Call for Participants

Meet the Team

Principal Investigator

Jessica Cattelino

Associate Professor, Anthropology

Graduate Student Researchers

Megan Baker

Megan is pursuing a PhD in Anthropology. Her responsibilities include fieldwork, interviews, and data analysis.

Courtney Cecale

Courtney is pursuing a PhD in Anthropology and is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Society and Genetics. Her responsibilities include conducting interviews with experts, home visits with participants, and data analysis.

Kelsey Kim

Kelsey is pursuing a PhD in Anthropology. Her responsibilities include visuals and infographics, methods, and water diary analysis.

Dalila Ozier

Dalila is pursuing a PhD in Anthropology.

Undergraduate Student Researchers

PwintPhyu Nandar

Pwint is pursuing a B.S. Environmental Science and a minor in Environmental Systems and Society. Her research focuses on water use and conservation in immigrant households.

Former Researchers

Grace Fratello-Hakim

Ana Gonzalez

Ana is pursuing a B.A. in Geography and a minor in Geo-spatial Information Systems. She served as a Research Assistant, conducted qualitative interviews, and transcribed and translated Spanish interviews.

Sarah Hallock

Sarah is pursuing a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in LGBTQ Studies. She provided transcription services for the project.

Michael Kim

B.A., Political Science and Geography

Michael served as interviewer, researcher, and Korean translator.

William Lan

William is pursuing a B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. His research focuses on the gendered dimensions of showering and how gender affects shower usage in L.A. households.

Virdiana Velez

M.P.P., Public Policy

Virdiana assisted with initial project/concept development, developed interview questions in English & Spanish, and more.