The bigger picture

Uniting the industry will allow it to reach its full potential.

May 12, 2011
Lindsey Getz

Malooly's company Water in Motion designs rainwater and stormwater harvesting systems.


Besides running three water-related businesses, Timothy Malooly sits on the Irrigation Association’s board of directors and on the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association’s board. And in holding these positions, and looking at the big picture, he says “there are some great things going on but there are some fundamental issues yet to be resolved as well.” Malooly believes that efficient irrigation is first, a choice of behavior. The practitioner must embrace the idea of water efficiency in order to drive best-practice-based outcomes. “Parts help fulfill water efficient behavior but parts cannot lead it, manage it or overcome bad choices,” he adds.

But there are other roadblocks in the way of water efficiency as well. “In the irrigation industry, in part as a result of development of wonderful parts and not so wonderful behaviors in using those parts, there are tensions between those who manufacture, those who distribute and those who install and maintain,” Malooly says. “Those tensions must be overcome if the irrigation industry is to be a viable determinant of its future.” 

Unification will also help drive industry trends. While everyone is busy talking about efficient irrigation and new smart technology trends, there’s still a lack of unification that’s standing in the way of making these ideas reality, Malooly says. If the green industry’s great thinkers could just practice more of what they preach there could be some big changes on the horizon.

“The fact of the matter is that among our current conversations, which focus on concerns over uses of chemicals, when to use them, and how to use them – as well as when and how to use water – all of that is contrasted directly with what consumers see and do every day,” says Malooly. “You’ll have articulate and educated industry professionals going to meetings at the state, regional or national level and making persuasive conversation about concentrating on science-based thoughts and formulating new policies. But the fact of the matter is those very people, after the meeting, will get in their car on a rainy day and drive home and see lawn sprinkler systems running in the rain. That completely counters everything they just talked about.”

Malooly believes that the people who actually practice conservancy are a vast minority in the green industry. But he sees room for change. “The industry has got to find a way to unify its message and clean up its own practices in order to maintain credibility in those discussions regarding the decisions we make. If we can do that, there’s so much potential for what we can achieve as an industry.”

He also hopes that the irrigation industry and the greater green industry as a whole, can quickly find ways to unite. “In the face of the green movement,” Malooly says, “the greater green industry must also unify behind the message that it is the first and best means to helping make good decisions for the outdoor living environment and also the best implementer of those good decisions. It’s up to us.”

This story is one of three that appeared in Lawn & Landscape's Water Works e-newsletter. To continue reading about Timothy Malooly:

Turning ideas into reality: It didn’t take long for this entrepreneur to grow from a single business to the owner and operator of three water-related companies.

Working together:
Three ways irrigation designers and installers can ensure a smooth project.