We assessed impacts on water use achieved by implementation of controlled experiments relating to four water conservation strategies in four towns within the Ipswich watershed in Massachusetts. The strategies included installation of weather-sensitive irrigation controller switches (WSICS) in residences and municipal athletic fields; installation of rainwater harvesting systems in residences; two outreach programs: free home indoor water use audits and water fixture retrofit kits and rebates for low-water-demand toilets and washing machines; and soil amendments to improve soil moisture retention at a municipal athletic field. The goals of this study are to summarize the effectiveness of the four water conservation strategies and to introduce nonparametric statistical methods for evaluating the effectiveness of these conservation strategies in reducing water use. It was found that the municipal WSICS significantly reduced water use; residences with high irrigation demand were more likely than low water users to experience a substantial demand decrease when equipped with the WSICS; rainwater harvesting provided substantial rainwater use, but these volumes were small relative to total domestic water use and relative to the natural fluctuations in domestic water use; both the audits/retrofit and rebate programs resulted in significant water savings; and a modeling approach showed potential water savings from soil amendments in ball fields.

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