Lawn-watering perceptions and behaviors of residential homeowners in three Kansas (USA) cities: implications for water quantity and quality


Urbanization is increasing the land area covered with turfgrasses, which may have implications for water quantity and quality. The largest sector of turfgrass is residential lawns. Our objectives were to survey residential homeowners in three Kansas cities about their perceptions, knowledge, and behaviors when irrigating their lawns; each city has distinctive water quantity and quality issues. Surveys were mailed to 15,500 homeowners in Wichita, 10,000 in Olathe, and 5,000 in Salina; the return rate was 11-13%. Wichita residents watered more frequently than Olathe and Salina, possibly because of greater evaporative demand than Olathe, and cheaper water and less concern about water shortages than Salina; Salina and Wichita have similar evaporative demands but Salina had a recent water crisis. Salina homeowners were most concerned about keeping their water bill from getting too high, probably because of higher water costs than the other cities. Overall, 45-60% indicated it was moderately to very important their lawns looked green all the time, while 65-77% ranked water conservation at the same level of importance. Significantly, 61-63% did not know how much water their lawns required and 71-77% did not know how much water they applied to their lawns when they irrigated. About 7-9% swept or blew clippings or lawn-care products directly into streets or storm drains, which run directly into local streams or reservoirs; 9% in Wichita is ~9,000 homeowners. The homeowner’s lawn irrigation knowledge and habits must be improved to help conserve water and protect water quality.



Turfgrass, Residential lawns, Lawn-watering, Water use, Water quality, Water quantity