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.
In the summer of 2017, DER piloted a summer outdoor water conservation campaign based on recommendations from the benefit and barriers research conducted in 2016. The pilot tested two strategies to motivate residents to stop or reduce summer lawn watering, as compared to a no-program control group. Each strategy was evaluated for effectiveness and lessons learned were noted for future water conservation efforts. A summary and evaluation of the project along with copies of the conservation materials can be found in the report: Summer Water Conservation Community-Based Social Marketing Pilot Project.