WaterMAPS™ promotes water use efficiency on existing urban landscapes. The approach takes into account the high degree of variability in urban parcels and people’s landscaping choices. Classification of aerial imagery that characterizes landscape material is used to calculate landscape water need for each individual urban property using local weather data. Landscape water need is compared to the amount of water actually used in order to assess the appropriateness of watering practices. The software enables these assessments to be conducted for an entire service area, produces landscape water use reports that can be delivered to water users, and directs conservation programs to the locations where they are most needed.

WaterMAPS provides information to water users in a way that recognizes people are generally willing to conserve water and are motivated to do so for a variety of reasons. People often engage in “innocent overwatering” if they do not know how much water their landscape actually needs in the context of weather variability and if they face site-specific constraints to efficiency. Conserving water applied to landscapes is more difficult than conserving water used indoors because it involves the interaction of soils, plants, irrigation systems and human behavior in a changing environment. Landscape water conservation is a process that involves many actions of change, monitoring, adjustment, and reinforcement. WaterMAPS provides actionable information to water managers and users to fully support the conservation process over time.