nation’s domestic water use is directed toward the landscape in the form of irrigation ( DeOreo et al., 2016 ). In places such as central Florida, this amount can exceed 60% ( Haley et al., 2007 ) and in Florida, the adoption of water conservation
shortages that are not related to drought by 2024 ( U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2014 ). In response to these concerns, a variety of water conservation initiatives have been performed in the United States, such as installing WaterSense-labeled and
, microirrigation, and reusing runoff water ( Mathers et al., 2005 ). Growers need to have adequate knowledge about water conservation techniques before they will adopt them ( Rockwell and Bennett, 2004 ). The innovation-decision process explains why people will
and exceptionally extreme drought conditions in 2012 that forced city governments to prioritize water conservation ( Arndt, 2002 ; South Central Climate Science Center, 2013 ). By Spring 2015, conditions improved but still remained abnormally dry, and
conservation may be related to their perceptions about the importance of plants and landscapes. Attitudes about water conservation, plants, and the importance of landscaping can potentially influence the investment of water resources in existing and future
. Thus, the urban landscape is one area that is a target for water conservation. This might be due to two reasons: 1) the urban landscape is highly visible to the public and is apt to be regulated, and 2) increasing urbanization is favoring a shift in
As populations become increasingly urbanized, landscape water conservation becomes more important. Landscape water consumption can increase municipal water use up to 4-fold during the growing season, and account for half the total yearly water use. Landscape water conservation is important in decreasing peak summer water demand to reduce the strain on delivery systems, and to reduce total demand so that development of new sources can be forestalled. Potential water savings from existing landscapes can be estimated by comparing historical usage gleaned from water meter readings to plant water needs estimated from reference evapotranspiration. Estimating water needs for turf is straightforward because of the few species involved and the uniformity of turf landscapes. Estimating water needs of woody plants is more difficult because of the heterogeneity of woody plants and how they are used, and woody plants respond to evaporative demand differently than turfgrass. Many woody plants will actually use less water as reference evapotranspiration increases due to stomatal closure induced by high leaf-air vapor pressure gradients. Landscape water is then conserved by either applying water more effectively in scheduling when and how long to irrigate based on estimating water use again from reference evapotranspiration, or by replacing areas in turfgrass with plants more-adapted to the existing conditions. Encouraging water conservation by end users is the final and largest challenge. Automated irrigation systems makes wasting water easy, while conserving water takes more effort. Education is the key to successful landscape water conservation.
Water conservation is making journal headlines nationwide because of drought, contamination, pollution, and over development. While the idea of xeriscaping began in the Western United States where landscapes can be truly dry, many water-saving principles apply to the Southeast, where home moisture problems and pest problems associated with moisture are a major problem. A year of drought maybe followed by three years of plentiful rainfall, and conditions are significantly different from the semi-arid regions of the country to which most of the present literature on water conservation is directed.
The purpose of this project was to provide information on water conservation to designers, landscape industry personnel, and homeowners in the Southeast. This was done by compiling recommendations based on research being conducted by professionals in building science, forestry, horticulture, entomology and landscape architecture.
An educational tool addressing the pressing national problem of water conservation with a regional emphasis, this project was designed to help readers increase landscape water efficiency by 30 to 50% while lowering maintenance costs and insuring greater survivability of landscape plants in times of water shortage. Through careful planning and design, economically attractive and aesthetically sound water conserving landscapes can be created.
A survey instrument was designed to determine public opinion on water conservation, water conserving landscapes, the use of native plants in landscapes, home irrigation systems, and the performance of five Texas native plant species [pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa); prairie verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida); red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora); ceniza (Leucophyllum frutescens); and ruellia (Ruellia nudiflora)] grown in low water use landscapes in the semiarid Southwestern United States. On six occasions during the 1999 growing season, participants viewed landscapes and participated in a survey. Survey data indicate that over 90% of respondents thought water conservation was important to the state of Texas. A majority of participants however, believed water conserving landscapes to be expensive to maintain and not aesthetically pleasing. The survey revealed 79% of participants would use native plants if native plants conserved water, and 86% of participants would use native plants if native plants were attractive. Chi-square approximations revealed participant's opinions regarding water conservation and home irrigation systems were influenced by education level and amount of time they participated in weekly horticulture activities. In an open-ended question, participants indicated flowers and healthy leaves were characteristics indicating a plant was performing well. Throughout the year, species in flower received higher ratings than nonflowering species.
in the literature that provides a basis for understanding how consumers view water conservation, especially related to their landscape. However, the evidence is limited to a few drought-prone states. Little is known about consumer behavior during real