By: Hurd, Brian H.
Communities throughout the Western United States are challenged by tight water supplies and swelling populations. Information is needed to better develop and target municipal water conservation programs. Significant water savings ranging from 35% to 70% are possible from changes in residential landscaping and improved management of outside watering, which often accounts for more than 50% of total residential water use. This study examines landscape choices of homeowners in three cities in New Mexico in order to identify and measure behavioral factors affecting water conservation. Using survey data, landscape choices are analyzed with a mixed logit model that assesses the effects of landscape and homeowner characteristics on choice probabilities. Model coefficients and implied elasticities indicate that water cost, education, and regional culture are significant determinants of landscape choices. In addition, the results suggest moral suasion can also have a positive influence toward water-conserving landscapes.