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Informing Water Use Planning with Consumer Preferences: A Case Study in Kelowna, B.C.

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Increased residential water use and climate change threaten fresh water supplies, especially for communities located in dryer regions such as Kelowna, B.C, Canada. Outdoor water use is an excellent target for water conservation, as it accounts for a major portion of residential water use. This study employed a choice experiment to examine detached homeowners’ preferences and intended behaviour for domestic lawns in Kelowna. To account for context specific choices, current lawn features (i.e. the status quo) were individualized in the survey and resulting model. Findings illustrate that the proportion of turf around the home is the strongest factor driving residents’ lawn choices. Also, residents with higher proportions of turf are more interested in water conserving landscaping retrofits and, therefore, make priority targets for water conservation strategies. These residents are also most receptive to a reduction of lawn cover, constituting significant water savings. This knowledge can help planners make more informed decisions about water use planning.
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