Residential Landscapes, Homeowner Attitudes, and Water-wise Choices in New Mexico

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  • 1 Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business, MSC 3169, Box 30003, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8003.
  • 2 Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.
  • 3 Doña Ana County Extension Office, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.

Residential landscapes are responsible for a large share of the water use of New Mexico communities. Water conservation plans and programs are being promulgated throughout New Mexico and the western U.S. as concern grows over the sufficiency and variability of present supplies, sustainability of current population growth rates, and desire for enhanced economic development. Household attitudes, choices, and behaviors ultimately underlie the success and performance of community water conservation programs. Homeowners in three New Mexico cities were surveyed concerning their attitudes and behavior toward water use, water conservation, and residential landscapes. Findings suggest that New Mexico's homeowners are mindful of the water resource challenges faced by communities, and are prepared to shoulder responsibility for stewarding the state's water resources. There is broad community support to limit traditional turfgrasses [e.g., kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)] and to increase the areas planted to native, natural, and water-conserving landscapes; for example, 92% favored limiting turfgrass to less than 25% of the area around public buildings. Evidence showing that 40% are not “content” with their current landscape suggests that significant impediments remain and limit still greater adoption of water-conserving landscapes and subsequent potential for increased household water savings.

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Contributor Notes

To whom reprint requests should be addressed: phone: (505) 646-2674; fax: (505) 646-3522; e-mail: bhhurd@nmsu.edu
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