Event Title

Green Lawns and Wise Water Use

Location

Space Dynamics Laboratory

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

3-26-2004 3:00 PM

End Date

3-26-2004 3:15 PM

Description

A large portion of urban water use in the United States goes to watering landscapes. Many people over-water without realizing they could use less water and still maintain green lawns. Landscape water conservation, especially in the western United States, is an important issue if the problem of having sufficient supplies to meet increasing demand while minimizing environmental impacts is to be addressed. This paper discusses results from research designed to address questions of how to best predict and promote outdoor water conservation. A survey conducted in a middle-class Utah suburb and actual water use records revealed the complexities of the seemingly simple task of applying the right amount of water to landscapes. As with other environmentally-friendly behavior, general demographics, motivations, and knowledge were not always successful predictors of landscape water conservation behavior. Instead, the irrigation technology itself was found to be the most influential factor affecting landscape water use. A key research finding was that households using manual watering systems (e.g., hoses) were more likely to conserve water than those using programmed sprinkler systems. While programmed sprinkler systems cannot be blamed for the larger amounts of water being applied to some of the household landscapes, they do make it easier for people to over-water. Also, landscape watering involves an intricate interplay between human factors, irrigation technology, plant ecology, and soil chemistry. In addition, the research showed that even people motivated to conserve water and knowledgeable about the need to do so did not always realize water efficiency, suggesting the ability of the technology to override their good intentions. The findings from this research have implications for better understanding the human-technology-landscape interface and for designing more effective landscape water conservation programs. This research may give urban water managers new tools and approaches to devise simple recommendations for improving outdoor water use efficiency of their constituents.

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Mar 26th, 3:00 PM Mar 26th, 3:15 PM

Green Lawns and Wise Water Use

Space Dynamics Laboratory

A large portion of urban water use in the United States goes to watering landscapes. Many people over-water without realizing they could use less water and still maintain green lawns. Landscape water conservation, especially in the western United States, is an important issue if the problem of having sufficient supplies to meet increasing demand while minimizing environmental impacts is to be addressed. This paper discusses results from research designed to address questions of how to best predict and promote outdoor water conservation. A survey conducted in a middle-class Utah suburb and actual water use records revealed the complexities of the seemingly simple task of applying the right amount of water to landscapes. As with other environmentally-friendly behavior, general demographics, motivations, and knowledge were not always successful predictors of landscape water conservation behavior. Instead, the irrigation technology itself was found to be the most influential factor affecting landscape water use. A key research finding was that households using manual watering systems (e.g., hoses) were more likely to conserve water than those using programmed sprinkler systems. While programmed sprinkler systems cannot be blamed for the larger amounts of water being applied to some of the household landscapes, they do make it easier for people to over-water. Also, landscape watering involves an intricate interplay between human factors, irrigation technology, plant ecology, and soil chemistry. In addition, the research showed that even people motivated to conserve water and knowledgeable about the need to do so did not always realize water efficiency, suggesting the ability of the technology to override their good intentions. The findings from this research have implications for better understanding the human-technology-landscape interface and for designing more effective landscape water conservation programs. This research may give urban water managers new tools and approaches to devise simple recommendations for improving outdoor water use efficiency of their constituents.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2004/AllAbstracts/12