Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Joanna Endter-Wada, Christopher M.U. Neale


Joanna Endter-Wada


Christopher M.U. Neale


Roger Kjelgren


Planning for drought and growth-induced water scarcity is a challenge confronting municipal water departments. When water shortages occur, demand management policies and programs are often implemented to encourage water conservation. Due to the nature of water resources and municipal water delivery systems, cities are concerned about meeting citizens’ water needs. A city can review water billing records to see how much water people use, but how do they know how much water people need? Standards and guidelines have been established for indoor water use (gallons/person/day), but the amount of water needed to irrigate outdoor landscapes is more variable, highly contextualized, and harder to determine. To aid in answering that question, this project developed a custom software application, Landscape Water Use Software, which allows water billing data to be integrated with GIS and other types of municipal databases. Using GIS and remotely sensed images gives the software a strong spatial component for use of parcel, structure, and land cover data. The resulting output shows how actual landscape water use compares with estimated landscape water need, which is then used to determine capacity to conserve outdoor water. The software can display spatial patterns and analyze factors contributing to water use variation. This project will help cities design landscapewater conservation programs that have the greatest potential for water savings.


This work made publicly available electronically on August 30, 2011.