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Archive for the ‘water’ Category

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As we close out July this week, I wanted to share this item from Bruce Birdsong and Precision Landscape Management. Precision was featured in a great EPA WaterSense case study:

Certified professional Bruce Birdsong is the president of Precision Landscape Management, which assumed grounds maintenance duties at Granite Park’s 372,000-square–foot landscape in 2008. After conducting an irrigation audit that revealed room for water efficiency improvements, Birdsong and his staff replaced the landscape’s clock timer irrigation controllers with weather-based models to tailor watering schedules to onsite weather conditions.

The landscape management firm also initiated routine system inspections to ensure Granite Park’s continued water savings. Maintenance measures included replacing broken sprinkler heads, ensuring adequate coverage, checking the system for leaks, and verifying proper controller programming and scheduling. In addition, rain and freeze sensors were installed to prevent watering at unnecessary times.

All in all, the system upgrades saved the office complex 12.5 million gallons of water and $47,000. We were on the case earlier this year when we profiled Precision’s irrigation department in our March issue.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out our July Water Issue for even more on how to position yourself as a water savings adviser.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

July 30th, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Visualizing your watershed

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A new tool from the Department of the Interior lets you map the watershed for any stream or river in the country.

The above image is the total watershed for the Mississippi River: 1 million-plus square miles, or about a third of the country.

It’s a great way to illustrate the connection even a small stream has on the water supply of the entire country.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

July 23rd, 2013 at 2:10 pm

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A world of water worry

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Today’s daily does of depressing water news comes from Businessweek, which gives us an overview of the world’s access (or lack of access) to water.

BW, by way of the International Water Management Institute, reports that:

Over one-fifth of the world’s population goes thirsty due to economic water scarcity, in which pollution, inadequate infrastructure and poverty conspire to keep them dry – even as their basins overflow.

Lucky for you, we’ve got Martha Golea on the case. She’s one of our columnists and has written extensively about ways contractors can give the gift of water.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

March 26th, 2013 at 4:25 pm

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Water law

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I had a great talk today with Richard Restuccia, director of water management solutions at ValleyCrest Co., and a contributor to Lawn & Landscape magazine.

We talked about California’s water conversation in Landscaping Act of 2006, which took effect in 2010.

So why, you may ask, are we discussing state-specific legislation that was enacted two years ago? Well, apart from the fact that I think Richard is just really smart and I just enjoy talking with him, California’s AB 1881 is an example of how legislation seen my many as a threat to the industry could really be an opportunity for contractors. And, as water supplies become more scarce and intense drought becomes more normal, these kinds of regulations are going to spread from California to the rest of the country.

You’ll be able to hear our conversation later this week on the Lawn Care Radio Network.

If you can’t wait, you can read more of Richard here, and ValleyCrest Takes On.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

December 6th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Colorado stormwater laws get softer

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Colorado, like many western states, has strict regulations on the use and management of water. But the Silver State has long topped lists of the strictest. As the green movement grew, cities, homeowners and landscapers rushed to embrace stormwater detention systems like cisterns and rain barrels. Colorado banned them.

Water, in Colorado, belongs to everyone, and it’s no one’s right to stop God-given raindrops from entering “the stream.” Property owners get what falls on their property, but aren’t allowed to keep any of it for themselves to use later.

But that hard-line stance is softening a bit. In 2009, the state government allowed a few pilot developments to experiment with rainwater collection systems to see if they could limit the total water use on a property.

In the October issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, Arthur Allen takes a look at one of these first projects, and what it could mean for a new Colorado landscape.

The first of these projects is scheduled to take place at Sterling Ranch, a 3,400-acre development south of Denver that when completed will include 12,050 residential units. It has been described as one of the most ecologically friendly developments in the West, and water conservation is a primary element. The project, which occupies the last major swath of undeveloped land between Denver and Castle Rock, Colo., has required a lot of paperwork and rigorous preparation, but groundbreaking is expected in 2014.

Planning for Sterling Rance focused from the beginning on minimizing water demand, with smaller individual yards and larger shared open spaces and parks that emphasize landscape solutions such as native plant use and artificial soccer and baseball fields. The project also incorporates conservation inside the houses, with auditing for excessive water use, which would bring financial penalties. The planners expect to average 0.286 acre-feet of water consumption per household. This would be a dramatic reduction compared to the traditional usage in the area. Before the project began, the surrounding county, Douglas County, had a cap of 0.75 acre-feet, which, in response to research conducted partly for Sterling Ranch, it has subsequently lowered to 0.4 acre-feet.

The biggest water savings are expected to come from using rainwater collection as a primary source for the community’s outdoor water needs. The developers expect to be able to meet about half of these outdoor requirements with God’s very own rainwater. Cisterns above- and below-ground will collect rainwater from houses and neighborhoods.

The story, which you can read here, is a fascinating look at the inner-workings of water savings on a large scale, and should give us some very practical data on how stormwater and detention systems can impact the residential landscape. These types of systems and regulations aren’t just impacting the West, and will only get worse in the future. No matter what part of landscaping you’re operating in, the water question is one everyone will have to think about in the coming years.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

October 11th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

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Movie reivew: Watershed

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Special in from Richard Restuccia today is his review of “Watershed,” the latest documentary of water in the American west. Narrated by Robert Redford, the film tells the story of the Colorado River and what the future holds for the most important water resource west of the Mississippi.

Saturday was the film’s Southwest U.S Premier; the sold out event packed The Water Conservation Garden amphitheater at Cuyamaca College. Watershed is one of the best films I have seen about water and definitely hits its goal of making water interesting to consumers. …

This is not only a must-see water management winner, but a great human interest story, too. So if you get a chance to see the movie, I wouldn’t miss it. You don’t have to be a water conservationist to enjoy it.

You can read the full review at ValleyCrest Takes On.

Written by CBOWEN@GIE.NET

August 6th, 2012 at 1:23 pm