Processes & Methods
DATA INTEGRATION & ANALYSIS
WaterMAPS™ integrates water meter data with property records, weather data, and landscape classifications into one database, then calculates and geographically displays landscape irrigation ratios (Figure 1). Options embedded in its analytic framework allow the user to make various assumptions (e.g., to account for irrigation system inefficiencies, to include parking strips outside property boundaries) and to use different time frames (e.g., a billing period, an irrigation season) in calculating site-specific Landscape Irrigation Ratios (LIRs).
LIRs identify “capacity to conserve” water applied to urban parcels of land. The ratios are produced through dividing the amount of water actually used on a particular landscape by the estimated amount of water that landscape needs to be healthy. Through standardizing the calculations per unit of landscaped area, the LIRs eliminate differences in water use due to parcel size, thereby enabling parcels to be compared to one another (Figure 2). Landscape water use is estimated from analysis of municipal or water provider meter or billing data that subtracts indoor water use. Landscape water need is estimated from the classification of remotely-sensed airborne multispectral imagery and localized reference evapotranspiration (ETo) rates modified to account for the varying water needs of the different types of landscape plant material at each location. LIRs can be categorized and labeled (e.g., as efficient, acceptable, inefficient, or excessive) to provide an indication of the appropriateness of landscape water use to meet landscape water need (Figure 2).
WaterMAPS™ enables the spatial display of results and facilitates additional analyses for an entire service area.
ASSESS: Urban Landscape Water Assessment Tool
WaterMAPS™ identifies locations with "capacity to conserve" water applied to urban landscapes through producing site-specific Landscape Irrigation Ratios (LIRs) that compare landscape water use to landscape water need.
This assessment function helps water managers to:
- diagnose urban landscape water conservation potential
- direct and tailor conservation programs to appropriate locations
- promote greater efficiency in urban water use
WaterMAPS™ calculates and displays site-specific (parcel-level) LIRs for an entire service area. Thus, it is a diagnostic tool for identifying locations with “capacity to conserve” water applied to urban landscapes so that water managers know where to direct their conservation efforts. The user can select parameters to create more strict or more generous LIR calculations that define the magnitude of a location’s “capacity to conserve.” The tool analyzes water use trends over time so that water managers also can identify when to deliver conservation programs.
DELIVER: Water User Information Delivery Tool
WaterMAPS™ produces water use reports for individual locations that summarize and interpret the appropriateness of their landscape water use.
This information function aids water users to:
- understand their landscape's water need in relation to current and historic weather data
- monitor their water use and progress toward conservation goals
- make landscaping decisions and plans
WaterMAPS™ produces water use reports for individual property locations that interpret landscape water consumption in ways that help water users understand and monitor their own use (see Figure 3 for an example). The reports contain the volume of landscape water used, an estimate of landscape water need, and an LIR for a reporting period. The reports also provide a monitor that graphs residents’ water use for current and previous periods and projects a landscape water need for future months based on historical, localized average evapotranspiration. Weather data that compare the current period to the historical average for that period is provided as well. These water use reports can be distributed by utilities to water users.
WaterMAPS™ enables water managers to track and analyze changes in landscape water use over time and in relation to weather patterns.
- evaluate conservation program outcomes and effectiveness
- encourage water users' long-term habit change through consistent and repeated messaging and through conservation program delivery where and when it is needed
- prepare for droughts and growing scarcity by fine-tuning water users' ability to water their landscapes appropriately
WaterMAPS™ enables water managers to track and analyze changes in landscape water use over time and in relation to weather patterns. This tracking function assists water managers to design policies and programs that promote water use efficiency and to assess conservation outcomes and program effectiveness. It also helps them to understand how landscape watering affects their water supplies so they can better prepare for droughts and water scarcity.