Planning & Management

Oral

393860 - The Effectiveness of Watering Restrictions During Drought and Non-Drought Periods

Tuesday, June 5
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Greenway GH
Co-Authors: Jeremy Rice, Fort Worth, TX – Freese and Nichols; Thomas Gooch, Fort Worth, TX – Freese and Nichols

From 2011 to 2015, many water providers in Texas implemented outdoor watering restrictions in response to severe drought. Following the end of the drought, we conducted twin studies to determine the effectiveness of watering restrictions for two major water providers. The studies estimated the amount of water saved due to watering restrictions during drought, as well as the amount they could save if watering restrictions were implemented year-round during non-drought periods. This was accomplished by developing multi-linear regression equations to model pumping during periods without watering restrictions, as well as during periods with once-per-week watering restrictions in place. Savings from restrictions during drought were calculated as modeled water use without restrictions minus observed use with restrictions in place. Savings expected from year-round restrictions were calculated as observed use without watering restrictions minus modeled use if watering restrictions were in place. During times of drought, savings from once-per-week watering restrictions were around 10 percent for one water provider and around 5 percent for the other. Savings from watering restrictions during drought were significantly greater during the summer months, when outdoor water use is higher. Savings from year-round once-per-week watering restrictions during non-drought periods was estimated around 1 percent on an annual basis, with greater savings during summer months. These twin studies highlight key climatic differences in drought and non-drought periods that impact the effectiveness of conservation programs and have important implications for water providers implementing conservation programs across the country.

Spencer Thomas Schnier


Freese and Nichols

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