New Software Promotes Urban Water Conservation

Mar 4, 2014

Interdisciplinary researchers at Utah State University have developed a landscape water management tool meant to enlighten individuals about the appropriateness of their water consumption. WaterMAPS assesses whether people, specifically in urban areas, are over-watering their landscapes.

Sprinklers showering an urban lawn
Utah State University Researchers are hoping to promote urban water conservation with new software.
Credit http://www.watermaps.usu.edu/

Joanna Endter-Wada, associate professor in Utah State University’s Department of Environment and Society and the social scientist on the WaterMAPS development team, said urban landscapes use 60-70% of the water in Utah communities.

"People innocently over-water," said Endter-Wada. "They don't know how much the plants need, it's hard for them to assess the evapotranspiration and climatic factors, and it's hard to interpret just the quantity of water that they receive on their water bill."

The new software provides a visual representation for water consumers and municipalities to look across service areas, finding places that could benefit from conservation programs. However, Endter-Wada says WaterMAPS goes beyond looking at the number of gallons used.

"We can determine from billing records and integrating a lot of the sources of information, particularly on the landscape and climate information, whether or not people are over-watering their landscapes," said Endter-Wada

Currently the tool chiefly provides help to municipalities, but researchers look to provide for more individual use in the future through Utah State University extension projects.

For more information on the project, visit the project's website