The Difficulties of Watering Your Lawn While Conserving Water

L Felter, P F Monaghan


Orange County, Florida is facing a looming water crisis. The St. Johns River Water Management District has determined that the county, which includes metropolitan Orlando, will reach the limit of its consumptive use permit in 2013 and no additional groundwater withdrawals will be allowed. The largest waste of potable water is in the landscape, specifically on the lawn. Homeowners can’t keep up with homeowner association demands and do not understand the maintenance needs of their yards or the technology of their irrigation system. The most common response for homeowners is to set their irrigation timer and forget it, not making adjustments based on rainfall or the needs of the lawn. Traditional public education programs used by County Extension offices face a daunting task when confronted with these complicated behaviors and attitudes. Several classes were held. Participants were taught about how much water to apply, when to water and the efficiency of irrigation heads. Each class had 15 irrigation clocks all functioning. Participants worked in small groups based on the type of clock they had at home. All participants touched the clock and made adjustments. Pre-test of knowledge was 20% out of 100 and the post test score was 85%, a 65% gain in knowledge. This class is part of the landscape design class. Results of the pre-test and post- test prompted the use of a survey called “Your Florida Yard and You.” The goal is to better understand how Floridians think about their yards and how they care for them.


water conservation, automated irrigation

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283