Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Dr. Christopher Jones
Water supplies in California are stretched to critical levels as a result of population growth, periodic drought, and climate change. The California legislature recognized that the best way to increase supply is to decrease demand so the Water Use Efficiency Senate Bill 7 (SBx7-7) was signed into law in 2009. The law requires water purveyors to reduce per capita water usage by 20% by the year 2020. To comply, water purveyors are searching for innovative ways to increase water conservation. A review of the literature has shown that many factors influence water consumption. However, the majority of household water consumption is attributable to outdoor landscaping, and traditional grass lawns have increasingly been targeted for conservation measures by municipalities. The purpose of this study was to determine if the receipt of a landscape rebate reduces water consumption. The theoretical frameworks for this study were Ajzen and Fishbein’s theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behavior. Archival data were collected and analyzed utilizing an ordinary least squares regression analysis. The analyses determined that there was a significant reduction in water consumption for customers who received a rebate but there was no significant difference in water consumption in the 24 months before and 24 months after receipt of a rebate. While the results were mixed, a robust water conservation program, including Cash-4-Grass rebates, can have a significant impact on water consumption. This study is expected to promote positive social change via empirical data that allows water professionals to encourage alternative methods for extending California’s water supplies.