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Article

When Small Is Not Beautiful: The Unexpected Impacts of Trees and Parcel Size on Metered Water-Use in a Semi-Arid City

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Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
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Denver Urban Field Station, 240 W Prospect Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
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Rocky Mountain Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
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Fort Collins Utilities, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA
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Aiken Center, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giovanni Battista Chirico
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(5), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13050998
Received: 1 January 2021 / Revised: 15 February 2021 / Accepted: 26 February 2021 / Published: 5 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Urban Vegetation and Its Applications)
Colorado’s water supply is under threat due to climate change pressures and population growth, however Colorado has been recognized to have some of the most progressive water conservation programs in the country. Limiting outdoor water consumption is an increasingly popular approach to conserving water in semi-arid cities, yet in order to implement effective water reduction and conservation policies, more utilities and city managers need a firm understanding of the local drivers of outdoor water consumption. This research explores the drivers of outdoor water consumption in a semi-arid, medium-sized Colorado city that is projected to undergo significant population growth. We used a combination of correlation and linear regression analyses to identify the key descriptive variables that predict greater water consumption at the household scale. Some results were specific to the development patterns of this medium-sized city, where outdoor water use increased 7% for each additional mile (1.6 km) a household was located from the historic urban center. Similarly, more expensive homes used more water as well. Surprisingly, households with a higher ratio of vegetation cover to parcel size tended toward less water consumption. This result could be because parcels that are shaded by their tree canopy require less irrigation. We discuss these results to assist city managers and policymakers in creating water-efficient landscapes and provide information that can be leveraged to increase awareness for water conservation in a growing, semi-arid city. View Full-Text
Keywords: water consumption; water conservation; urban landscapes; tree canopy; lifestyles; urban structure; urban ecology; semi-arid; climate change water consumption; water conservation; urban landscapes; tree canopy; lifestyles; urban structure; urban ecology; semi-arid; climate change
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rasmussen, S.; Warziniack, T.; Neel, A.; O’Neil-Dunne, J.; McHale, M. When Small Is Not Beautiful: The Unexpected Impacts of Trees and Parcel Size on Metered Water-Use in a Semi-Arid City. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 998. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13050998

AMA Style

Rasmussen S, Warziniack T, Neel A, O’Neil-Dunne J, McHale M. When Small Is Not Beautiful: The Unexpected Impacts of Trees and Parcel Size on Metered Water-Use in a Semi-Arid City. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(5):998. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13050998

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rasmussen, Shaundra, Travis Warziniack, Abbye Neel, Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, and Melissa McHale. 2021. "When Small Is Not Beautiful: The Unexpected Impacts of Trees and Parcel Size on Metered Water-Use in a Semi-Arid City" Remote Sensing 13, no. 5: 998. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13050998

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