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This project will provide assistance to the Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) by piloting innovative, non-regulatory water conservation strategies with the goal of reducing non-essential outdoor water use and improving streamflow.
DER and IRWA began the first steps to develop outdoor water conservation strategies in the spring and summer of 2016 using a technique called Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM). DER worked with IRWA and the Towns of Topsfield and Wenham to better understand the barriers and benefits for individuals in reducing water use during the summer. CBSM integrates psychology with social marketing concepts to better understand the audience and the barriers preventing change. From there, targeted messages and solutions can be used that lead to real behavior change. You can learn more about this in the report of this effort: Ipswich River Watershed Summer Water Conservation Actions: Community - based Social Marketing Benefit and Barrier Research.
The next step will be piloting and testing outreach recommendations that address the barriers and benefits to reducing outdoor water use. DER and partners are currently planning this approach with the goal of piloting some of the recommendations. The conservation strategies will be focused on reducing and/or eliminating lawn watering and will address identified barriers including the perception that grass will die if not watered and that not watering/reducing watering would not save much water. Each of the strategies will be evaluated for effectiveness.