Event Title

Residential landscape water checks: Building water conservation skills

Presenter Information

Diana T. Glenn

Location

ECC 203

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/htm/conference/past-spring-runoff-conferences

Start Date

5-4-2007 2:30 PM

End Date

5-4-2007 2:50 PM

Description

In response to drought and regional growth in the arid western United States, urban water demand management is increasingly important. Single family residences are the largest category of users with 60% of their water consumption applied to landscapes often in excess of plant water requirements. Our research investigates water conservation behavior in relation to residential landscape irrigation and the effectiveness of a water check program as a conservation tool. In Utah’s sixth year of drought (2004), we conducted research in connection with free landscape irrigation system evaluations (water checks) offered to all households in Logan, Utah. During the summer of 2005, we selected a targeted sample of above-average Logan water users but otherwise replicated the intervention (water checks, research). The landscape water checks included detailed evaluations of households’ sprinkler systems and landscapes, and provided the occupants with site-specific seasonally-adjusted watering schedules and conservation recommendations, which the occupants were encouraged to adopt. Pre-intervention (at time of water check) and post-intervention (end of growing season) open-ended interviews were conducted with all households. Utilizing an interdisciplinary technique developed by Kjelgren, Neale and Endter-Wada, the appropriateness of landscape water use in relation to plant needs is determined and then used as the dependent variable in analyses of water use patterns before and subsequent to the water check interventions. Research results are being interpreted in light of the social-ecological and proenvironmental competency frameworks emerging within the field of environmental psychology. These frameworks help to explain why many people who generally see water conservation as being socially desirable are unable to translate their attitudes into conservation behavior. The maintenance of residential landscapes is a complex activity that is socially embedded and not simply a task. Landscapes are maintained to meet neighborhood expectations, as a means of self-expression, or to enhance a property’s value. Individuals are part of their environment and their use of objects, such as a sprinkler system, mediate behavior affecting the environment and social experiences. A sprinkler system’s instrumental function is to water a landscape, but it can have the unintended environmental consequence of over-watering a landscape when improperly used. Landscape water checks provide the educational opportunity to address how people utilize and perceive their sprinkler systems and to build their landscape watering skills and knowledge. These findings have important implications for municipalities interested in adopting and evaluating the effectiveness of water conservation programs.

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Apr 5th, 2:30 PM Apr 5th, 2:50 PM

Residential landscape water checks: Building water conservation skills

ECC 203

In response to drought and regional growth in the arid western United States, urban water demand management is increasingly important. Single family residences are the largest category of users with 60% of their water consumption applied to landscapes often in excess of plant water requirements. Our research investigates water conservation behavior in relation to residential landscape irrigation and the effectiveness of a water check program as a conservation tool. In Utah’s sixth year of drought (2004), we conducted research in connection with free landscape irrigation system evaluations (water checks) offered to all households in Logan, Utah. During the summer of 2005, we selected a targeted sample of above-average Logan water users but otherwise replicated the intervention (water checks, research). The landscape water checks included detailed evaluations of households’ sprinkler systems and landscapes, and provided the occupants with site-specific seasonally-adjusted watering schedules and conservation recommendations, which the occupants were encouraged to adopt. Pre-intervention (at time of water check) and post-intervention (end of growing season) open-ended interviews were conducted with all households. Utilizing an interdisciplinary technique developed by Kjelgren, Neale and Endter-Wada, the appropriateness of landscape water use in relation to plant needs is determined and then used as the dependent variable in analyses of water use patterns before and subsequent to the water check interventions. Research results are being interpreted in light of the social-ecological and proenvironmental competency frameworks emerging within the field of environmental psychology. These frameworks help to explain why many people who generally see water conservation as being socially desirable are unable to translate their attitudes into conservation behavior. The maintenance of residential landscapes is a complex activity that is socially embedded and not simply a task. Landscapes are maintained to meet neighborhood expectations, as a means of self-expression, or to enhance a property’s value. Individuals are part of their environment and their use of objects, such as a sprinkler system, mediate behavior affecting the environment and social experiences. A sprinkler system’s instrumental function is to water a landscape, but it can have the unintended environmental consequence of over-watering a landscape when improperly used. Landscape water checks provide the educational opportunity to address how people utilize and perceive their sprinkler systems and to build their landscape watering skills and knowledge. These findings have important implications for municipalities interested in adopting and evaluating the effectiveness of water conservation programs.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2007/AllAbstracts/18