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Managing Water Is A Limited Opportunity

What’s The Issue?

Every second, the urban population grows by two people. Fifty percent of the world's population lives in cities of 10 million people or more. According to the Global, Environmental Outlook, water withdrawals are predicted to increase by 50 percent by 2025 in developing countries and 18 percent in developed countries. According to the EPA, nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for almost one-third of all residential water use, totaling more than 7 billion gallons per day. In the west and other sunny areas, landscape water use accounts for over 50 percent of residential water use. As an industry, we have a giant target on our back for regulation to reduce water use. In California, just a 20 percent reduction in landscape water use would be equivalent to lowering all toilet water use to zero. Managing water is an opportunity, but the window of opportunity may close quickly.

We Have A Choice.

The landscape industry has an opportunity to change the way we manage water. However, the chance to make the change is limited. Rising costs and restrictions are taking options out of our hands. Just drive around any of the neighborhoods in Southern California today, and you will see many people have let their landscape go due to the cost of water.

What Can We Do?

First, we need to embrace the technology manufacturers provide for water management. I find only a small percentage of contractors recommend smart controllers to their customers. Less than 15% of the properties I visit have a smart controller.

In most situations, the fastest way to save water at the lowest expense is through the installation and proper use of smart controllers. The education of contractors and end-user customers is the key to accepting technology. Contractors should consider the IA Certified Irrigation Contractor program.

IA Certified Irrigation Contractors meet minimum experience requirements, pass a written exam, and agree to a code of ethics. The IA Certified Irrigation Contractor and Certified Irrigation Designer programs were the first professional certifications to earn the EPA WaterSense label. The IA also offers courses for irrigation professionals who need to stay abreast of the latest technologies. There are also other water management certifications offer by various states providing excellent water management education.

Also, check with local water purveyors about special “smart” certification programs they may be offering. Many water purveyors offer smart controller incentives to qualified residential and commercial customers. These incentives help make upgrading to a smart irrigation controller even more compelling.

Remember, this is just a start. I have a strong desire to change the way we have been managing irrigation water, and I need your help. Tweet me your thoughts @H2oTrends

Richard Restuccia

Richard is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. Richard is a spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. He served on the Irrigation Association's Board of Directors and is a University of California Master Gardener. Richard also writes for other publications and is an award winning contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine. In 2014 his efforts were recognized with a “Leadership in Landscape” award. He has a great interest in the supply of clean water for people in developing countries and as an outdoorsman, spends his free time running, swimming and surfing.


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