Water demand management includes five core components:
- Technical efficiency - reducing the quantity or quality of water required to accomplish a specific task (e.g. install a high-efficiency toilet).
- Behavioral efficiency - Adjusting the nature of the task so it can be accomplished with less water or lower quality water (e.g. take a shorter shower).
- Water loss and leakage control - Reducing losses in movement from source through use to disposal including reducing leakage in the distribution system and customer-side leaks.
- Peak management - Shifting time of use to off-peak periods.
- Drought response - Increasing the ability of the system to operate during droughts.
There a many strategies available to address each of these five core components. Some strategies, such a conservation-orientented water rates, cut across multiple demand management components. Other strategies, such as turning off the faucet sooner or taking a shorter shower, apply only to a single component.
This definition of demand management is intientially broad to encompass both urban and agricultural water demand. My consulting practice, WaterDM, focuses primarily on demand management in the urban sector.
 Adapted from Brooks, D.B. 2007. An Operational Definition of Water Demand Management. International Journal of Water Resources Development. Volume 22, 2006 - Issue 4