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Towards sustainable water management: Preferences and willingness to pay for smart landscape irrigation technologies

Hayk Khachatryan, Dong Hee Suh, Wan Xu, Pilar Useche and Michael D. Dukes

Land Use Policy, 2019, vol. 85, issue C, 33-41

Abstract: Urbanization trends, leading to growing irrigated residential landscapes continue to escalate concerns on surface, ground, and drinking water quantity and quality among environmental groups and regulatory agencies. While automated lawn irrigation systems established in urban areas are critical factors affecting water quantity and quality, homeowners’ water use may vary with their preferences for lawn irrigation systems. The choice of an irrigation system is not determined only by local restrictions or policies but also by homeowners’ preferences. Further, individuals’ preferences can be influenced by the availability of product-specific attributes such as evapotranspiration or soil-moisture based controllers (known as smart irrigation controllers). With a focus on single-family home residents in California, Florida, and Texas, the present study uses the discrete choice analysis framework to link smart irrigation attributes (e.g., sensor types, wireless operation, remote control, alert notification) and monetary incentives (e.g., annual water bill savings, rebates) to preferences and willingness-to-pay. Results indicate that homeowners prefer smart irrigation controllers to conventional automated systems, and that savings on annual water bills could be one of the most important features determining adoption of smart irrigation controllers. Controller features such as the type of operation (i.e., wireless/on-site weather station) and system malfunction alert/notification also impacted homeowners’ preferences. The findings provide practical insights into the promotion of smart irrigation controllers that can be integrated with educational campaigns, or advertisements highlighting benefits of smart irrigation technologies. Clearer understanding about homeowners’ preferences could serve as a feedback loop for policy makers and improve water policies at state and local levels.

Keywords: Landscape irrigation; Water conservation; Soil-moisture sensors; Evapotranspiration sensors; Irrigation controllers; Willingness to pay (WTP) (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.03.014

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