Water—Contagious conservation

Water—Contagious conservation

Researchers analyzed 15 years of data across 16 neighborhoods, shown in orange, in the Las Vegas Valley Water District to determine whether one home’s participation in the utility’s water conservation program had a measureable effect on their neighbors’ l
Researchers analyzed 15 years of data across 16 neighborhoods, shown in orange, in the Las Vegas Valley Water District to determine whether one home’s participation in the utility’s water conservation program had a measureable effect on their neighbors’ likelihood of also participating. Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy (hi-res image)

Media Contact

Sara Shoemaker, Communications
shoemakerms@ornl.gov, 865.576.9219

August 1, 2018 – A team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory has discovered that residents living in arid environments share a desire for water security, which can ultimately benefit entire neighborhoods. Las Vegas, Nevada’s water utility was the first utility in the United States to implement a water conservation program in which homeowners receive cash incentives for replacing water-hungry grass with plants better suited to an arid climate. Researchers analyzed 15 years of data across 16 neighborhoods to determine whether one home’s participation in the program had a measureable effect on their neighbors’ likelihood of also participating. “The water agencies’ thinking is: if one person’s participation induces conservation behavior in some of their neighbors, then everybody wins,” ORNL’s Christa Brelsford, lead coauthor of the study, said. This work, the third in a series, was published in the journal Networks and Spatial Economics. – Written by Shelby Whitehead

Share