Background and Research

The WaterMAPS™ development team began their research collaboration on water use in irrigated urban environments in the late 1990s. During that time, increasing attention was being placed on outdoor water use due to rapid urbanization in the western United States and in other drought-prone regions of the world. The research community had made progress in assessing urban landscape water use through the filter of individual disciplines, such as plant science or conservation behavior. However, the Center for Water-Efficient Landscaping recognized that more interdisciplinary and integrated work needed to be performed to fully understand the multi-dimensional aspects of urban landscape water use and conservation.

The interdisciplinary work conducted by Dr. Joanna Endter-Wada (policy and social science), Dr. Roger Kjelgren (urban horticulture and native plants), and Dr. Christopher Neale (irrigation engineering and remote sensing) focused on fulfilling these scientific and applied research needs. They initiated a joint research effort to provide technical assistance to water suppliers in Utah who were seeking to conserve water in irrigated urban environments. Working together with professional staff and students, the WaterMAPS™ team has contributed to an improved understanding of urban landscape water use and conservation by:

  • Developing technical innovations that identify locations with the greatest capacity to conserve water and that track water conservation efforts over time
  • Conducting research to better understand watering behaviors and how those behaviors are shaped by preferences, knowledge, and experiences
  • Assessing irrigation systems and site-specific characteristics, such as landscaping choices and soil properties, that often pose constraints to water use efficiency
  • Providing information to water users to help them better understand the water needs of established landscapes and to assist them in transitioning and designing landscapes that reduce water use

Over the years, the WaterMAPS™ team has conducted research, written journal articles, published detailed technical report for project partners, and developed educational materials that assist water suppliers and water users in improving the management and use of water in urban environments. 

Journal Articles

Technical Reports

Theses & Dissertations

Thomson, J.I.H. 2020. Evaluation of Best Practices for Urban Water Conservation and Water-Smart Growth Implementation in Utah. M.S. Thesis, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA.

Welsh, A.P. 2011. Software for Analyzing Municipal Water Data to Design Water Conservation Strategies. M.S. Project, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA.

Glenn, D.T. 2010. Residential Landscape Water Check Programs: Exploring a Conservation Tool. M.S. Thesis, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA.

Guenter, M. 2006. The Role of Utah Garden Centers in Furthering Public Knowledge about Waterwise Plants and Landscaping. M.S. Thesis, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA. 

Klien, C.O. 2004. Understanding Household Landscape Water Conservation. M.S. Thesis, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA. 

Farag, F.A. 2003. Estimating Farm and Landscape Water Use at the Rural-Urban Interface Using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems. Ph.D. Dissertation, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA.

Hooper, V.H. 2003. Understanding Utah’s Native Plant Market: Coordinating Public and Private Interest. M.L.A. Thesis, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA.

Kilgren, D.C. 2001. Implementing Water Conservation in an Institutional Setting. M.S. Thesis, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA.