An Investigation into What Planning Departments and Water Authorities Can Learn from Eleven Communities' Waterwise Landscaping Ordinances
Anderson, Kristin M.
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Anderson, Kristin M.
In the United States we are using billions of gallons more water every day than is replenished by the hydrological cycle. Because water applied to landscaping is often the single largest use of the water supplied by most water utilities in areas requiring landscape irrigation, planners and water authorities are adopting ordinances that reduce the amount of water required by landscaping. This report focuses on ordinances which require or encourage the use of waterwise plants and/or that limit the area of lawns or offer incentives for reducing lawn area. I analyzed eleven ordinances from eight states (Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington) and interviewed twelve planners and eight landscape architects from ten of these communities. This report provides information on the many options available in waterwise landscaping ordinances, how various ordinance elements are enforced in real life, the advantages and disadvantages of various elements, and landscape architects’ and planners’ views and recommendations. In addition to my analysis and recommendations, the report includes a literature review that is a primer on water shortage issues, the relationship between landscapes and water consumption, and the theory of waterwise landscaping ordinances; a matrix comparing the eleven ordinances and community factors (such as evapotranspiration and cost of water); and a compendium of 25 waterwise landscaping ordinance elements.
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