MassDEP and DER have been working with Action Research and several MA communities to develop and pilot water conservation campaigns with the goal of reducing summer water use. The approach uses strategies to change outdoor lawn watering behavior by providing targeted education and feedback to motivate water use behavior change.
What we are Doing
In the summer of 2016, DER worked with Action Research and the Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) to better understand the barriers and benefits to homeowners in reducing summer water use. Based on those findings and recommendations, DER and partners piloted two outdoor water conservation campaigns in summer 2017 to motivate residents to stop or reduce summer lawn watering. One strategy (the feedback strategy), which compared a household’s summer water use to neighbors, was found to be the most effective at reducing summer water use.
Building on the success and lessons learned from the 2017 pilot, MassDEP expanded the project to three communities in summer 2018. The 2018 project focused on the feedback strategy and found statistically significant reductions in water use ranging from 41 to 128 gallons/day per household.
Based on successful results in 2018, MassDEP is planning to implement an additional round of campaign testing in summer 2019 in 6 communities. A toolbox will also be developed to assist towns with campaign implementation.
A summary of the initial benefits and barrier research as well as an evaluation of the 2017 and 2018 pilot projects can be found under Additional Resources.