Creating Low Water Use Landscape Through Comprehensive Community Engagement
Located in California’s Central valley, Fresno has been facing challenges in conservation of water. Between the coupled effects of industrial agriculture and home yard maintenance, extraordinary demands have been placed on the region’s water resources. While water scarcity is a complex issue facing the entire state of California, Fresno is one of the two cities in California that do not have residential water meters. Of the total residential water use 70% is used for irrigating lawns.
With her TogetherGreen fellowship, Kaberi Kar Gupta conducted a study about the perception of water use. She then used this information to create a plan for engaging homeowners to plant water-wise landscapes in their backyards. Kaberi met with focus groups and in classroom settings, where most participants were interested in learning about new landscaping plans. Kaberi’s goal with the Community Greenscape/Urban Residential Low Water Landscape Program was to build a dynamic and active coalition of local government, low-income housing developers, homeowners, community organizations, educational institutions, and environmental groups helping to create a more sustainable environment.
Kaberi’s training in ecology and anthropology as well as her research experience in India and in the USA on conservation biology enabled her to bring a fresh perspective to the complex issues facing Fresno. She believes that in order to preserve biodiversity, a collaborative, integrative, and interdisciplinary approach must take root. She sees this vision coming to life through the Community Greenscape Program.