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We address the effort to decrease residential water use in San Antonio, Texas, because recent droughts have made water conservation a high priority there. Since the city’s water utility—the San Antonio Water System (SAWS)—maintains water prices below economically efficient levels, demand is outstripping supply. To address this problem, we apply microeconomic analysis to the utility’s residential water pricing structure and the drought restrictions it imposes. We make recommendations for incentivizing water conservation in high-volume consumers by increasing the progressivity of SAWS pricing policies. SAWS also offers water conservation rebates, such as the WaterSaver Landscape Rebate, whose effectiveness we analyze herein. The criteria for the rebate are examined, and the SAWS-approved plant list is scrutinized. We then make recommendations for improving the efficiency of the rebate program, the plant list, and the public’s awareness of the rebate. Lastly, we apply our landscaping findings to the Trinity University campus to help conserve water and further ecological integrity on campus.


Capstone, GEOS/ENVI 4301-01: Land Use, Geology, and the Environment