Landscape water usage was one of several topics covered at the international conference in Las Vegas.
|Charles Fishman, author of “The Big Fish,” talks about the role of water in the modern world.
The 4th Annual WaterSmart Innovations Conference provided landscapers water-conservation insight.
The event, held last October in Las Vegas and hosted by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, covered a broad range of water-related topics geared to the water purveyor and, specifically, their water conservation department. Landscape irrigation is always a major subject of interest at the conference, which has a global approach. The conference comprises eight presentations on different subject themes, one of which is landscaping.
The conference included a number of pre-conference events including committee meetings and the annual meeting for the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) and committee meetings for the new International Code Council’s (ICC) sprinkler standards (officially called emission devices). Each year at the conference, in conjunction with AWE, the Environmental Protection Agency has its WaterSense Partners of the Year awards banquet.
Awards presented included the Irrigation Partner of the Year, which went to Christopher Curry, a principal at Sweeney + Associates Irrigation Design and Consulting in Orange, Calif.
The keynote speaker for this year’s conference was Brian Richter from The Nature Conservancy. He detailed water use throughout the world and pointed out that each of us has a water footprint of 800 gallons per day, the equivalent of 12 bathtubs of water. Richter says that currently half of the world’s river basins experience severe water shortages for some part of the year. He also commented on the drought in Texas, saying that it will have a long term effect on the state and that Texas does not have, and will not have, enough water. The Texas drought was the subject of much discussion at the conference.
Landscape sessions included talks by various irrigation contractors, consultants and manufacturers. Updates were provided on the Irrigation Association’s Smart Water Applications Technology (SWAT) initiative and the EPA’s WaterSense programs.
David Zoldoske of the International Center for Water Technology in Fresno, Calif., gave an interesting presentation on performance testing of soil moisture-based irrigation controllers. The design and installation of rainwater harvesting systems was the subject of several presentations, with the speakers toting the benefits of rainwater as an irrigation water source. Conversely, Karen Guz of the San Antonio Water System presented a session on the “Top Problems with Rain Water Harvesting Systems” and “Three Ways to Succeed or Fail.”
The Southern Nevada Water Authority presented the results of a study of when people are most inefficient in their watering. The results showed that Las Vegas residents are most inefficient during the months of October through January.
As a result, Las Vegas’s water restrictions are more severe in those months than in the peak summer watering season, which results in more water being saved.
Other presentations dealt with proposed new green codes and their effects on landscaping, landscape water budgeting and outdoor water efficiency programs. As with any water conference, especially one geared toward conservation, outdoor water use is a big topic of discussion and the focus of many presentations.
The author is president of Irrigation Consulting in Pepperell, Mass. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Slides from the conference are available on the WaterSmart Innovations website www.watersmartinnovations.com.