4th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Mackenzie Boyer
Session Name Poster Session: Managing water for people and the environment
Poster Number 59
Author(s) Mackenzie Boyer,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  Michael Dukes,  University of Florida
  Big Data Indicates Big Irrigation Potential of Florida-Friendly Landscapes
  The impact of water conservation programs can be maximized when water customers with the highest use are targeted for participation. Utilities may be able to maximize irrigation conservation by first identifying irrigating customers, then focusing conservation activities on these irrigators. This research will discuss how customers in southwest Florida were categorized as either irrigators or non-irrigators and will then estimate the potential water conservation impact of the Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) program. Big Data (i.e. over 44 million records) consisting of monthly potable combined (indoor and outdoor) water billing records and property appraiser data for 650,000 customers were used for this analysis. Irrigation applied per unit area was estimated by subtracting estimated indoor use from total water use, then dividing by the estimated irrigated area. Theoretical gross irrigation required was calculated using an irrigation efficiency and a daily soil-water balance that included weather and soil inputs at each customer’s parcel. Ratios of irrigation applied to irrigation required were calculated for each customer and were used in a k-means statistical procedure to classify customers as either irrigators or non-irrigators. An alternative landscape such as FFL is generally characterized by greater plant diversity and a lower irrigation requirement. Based on analysis of the billing records for 125 FFL homes and their neighbors, FFL homes used 72% less irrigation than their traditionally landscaped, turf-dominated neighbors. By applying this water savings to the customers, the estimated irrigation savings if all irrigators converted their landscapes to FFL was predicted to be 16 billion gallons per year.