Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Beyond Water Restrictions: Informing Effective Lawn Watering Behavior
by Survis, Felicia D., Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2016, 111; 10300326
Abstract (Summary)

Evaluating trends of historical rainfall on a weekly and seasonal basis is needed for optimizing the design and implementation of lawn water conservation strategies like outdoor water restrictions. While “day of the week” water restrictions are a typical strategy to limit the frequency and duration of urban lawn water use, they may not necessarily result in more conservative behaviors from end-users. Because weekly rainfall and local climate variables are seldom taken into account in water restriction strategies, they are not connected to actual lawn water demand. However, since lawn water demand is directly related to weekly rainfall totals, not to a particular number of watering days per week, water restriction schedules have the potential to unintentionally promote overwatering. This study investigated the weekly patterns of average seasonal rainfall and evapotranspiration in South Florida to determine the typical variability of weekly net irrigation needs and found that typical wet season weekly rainfall often provides a significant amount of water to meet the demand of residential lawns and landscapes. This finding underscores opportunity to reduce supplemental overwatering in residential landscapes if watering guidelines were modified to recognize seasonal average weekly rainfall in this region.

This study also tested a rainfall-based water conservation strategy to determine if providing residents with information about how local rainfall could promote more effective lawn watering behavior than just water restrictions alone. Experimental households reduced lawn water use by up to 61% compared to the control group by the end of the study. These results demonstrate that the neighborhood “rain-watered lawn” signs helped experimental study group households become more aware of rainfall as the primary input of water to their lawns. This study also investigated the role that lawn irrigation from self-supplied sources plays in the urban lawn water demand and investigates how the lawn water use and lawn watering behaviors of households that source from self-supply differ from those who source from the public supply.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Root, Tara
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental economics, Environmental education, Environmental Studies, Water Resource Management, Sustainability
Keywords: Irrigation, Lawns, Outdoor water use, Water conservation, Water demand
Publication Number: 10300326
ISBN: 9781369423655
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