Water and Land Use Planning Relationships


  • How to identify how water use relates to your land-use planning area, or how land use relates to your water-planning area
  • What the latest research says about on relationships of water use and land use
  • Two examples of land-use and water-use planning that you can use to expand your own interdisciplinary investigations of land use and water use


The relationships between land use and water use are just beginning to be explored by both water-resource and land-use planners. Even though water supply and demand and how land is being used and developed at local and regional scales closely interrelate, our knowledge about these relationships is limited and fraught with misconceptions. Recent industry and academic research projects have explored this in more detail and challenged some commonly held beliefs about these relationships. This presentation will discuss the results of recent research efforts. The Water Research Foundation examined the current state of research on landscape water use, including land-use aspects. The Colorado Water and Growth Dialogue recently looked at the relationship between residential density and water use. And the Lincoln Institute has been looking at the impact water elements in comprehensive plans has had on water demand. Results from these projects suggest that this relationship is more complex and variable than perhaps previously considered, is subject to high levels of uncertainty, and requires more research to better define the issue and its impact on water-use and land-use planning.