Get access

Implementing Landscape Water Conservation in Public School Institutional Settings: A Case for Situational Problem Solving

Authors

  • Douglas C. Kilgren,

    1. Respectively, M.S. Graduate, Professor, and Associate Professor (Kilgren, Kjelgren, and Johnson), Department of Plants, Soils and Climate, Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84322-4820
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Joanna Endter-Wada,

    1. Associate Professor (Endter-Wada), Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84322-5215.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Roger K. Kjelgren,

    1. Respectively, M.S. Graduate, Professor, and Associate Professor (Kilgren, Kjelgren, and Johnson), Department of Plants, Soils and Climate, Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84322-4820
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Paul G. Johnson

    1. Respectively, M.S. Graduate, Professor, and Associate Professor (Kilgren, Kjelgren, and Johnson), Department of Plants, Soils and Climate, Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84322-4820
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Paper No. JAWRA-10-0024-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) Discussions are open until six months from print publication.

(E-Mail/Kjelgren: roger.kjelgren@usu.edu)

Abstract

Kilgren, Douglas C., Joanna Endter-Wada, Roger K. Kjelgren, and Paul G. Johnson, 2010. Implementing Landscape Water Conservation in Public School Institutional Settings: A Case for Situational Problem Solving. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 46(6):1205–1220. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2010.00486.x

Abstract:  Urban water conservation programs and research generally focus on residential and commercial use while paying less attention to institutional settings. We studied irrigated landscape water conservation at public schools, controlling for type of irrigation system (manual vs. automated control) and water conservation interventions (control, directive, prescriptive, and educational). We monitored landscape water use to compare changes among interventions and irrigation systems to measured plant water needs and historical use. Interviews and diaries allowed the study of behavior among custodians managing landscape irrigation. Large irrigation system effects overshadowed impact of the interventions. Schools using automated systems had high landscape water use and substantial capacity for water conservation but actual savings varied among schools. Schools using manual systems were the opposite yet many still managed further reductions in response to interventions. Effectiveness of water conservation interventions depended upon the contexts in which they were applied. Interventions were more effective when they led to situational problem solving that integrated generalized scientific and technical knowledge with experiential knowledge. Our findings suggest ways for school districts to decide where, when, and how to intervene in promoting water conservation but caution school districts investing in automated-irrigation systems, particularly if they will be operated remotely.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary