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Water wisdom

November 13, 2020 -  By
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Irrigation sprayhead (Photo: LM Staff)

Photo: LM Staff

Getting smart about water conservation

Company: Weisburg Landscape Maintenance
Founded: 2003
Location: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Service mix: 58% maintenance, 22% construction, 20% snow services
Customer mix: 100% commercial
Annual revenue: $5 million

Eric Moroski, vice president and co-owner of Weisburg Landscape Maintenance, reflects on how his company has become a strong ambassador of smart irrigation.

We always had a heavy interest in irrigation because where we live, Colorado Springs and the Front Range, are high, semiarid plains. Water is always an issue. We got to where we are now with efficient irrigation and conservation because we had a massive drought in 2002 that changed the landscape of Colorado.

It was bad. Drought restrictions came into play, and that hadn’t really happened before. It really put the spotlight on plant selection and smart irrigation. I came into the company in 2003, but I was involved in 2002 with green industry advocacy, and we had a seat at the table to be able to say that we can both have nice landscapes and save water.

Irrigation sprayheads (Photo: LM Staff)

Use it wisely Equipment has evolved in the last 20 years to become more water efficient. (Photo: LM Staff)

Colorado Springs takes about 70 percent of its water from the Western Slope in the Colorado River Basin. We don’t have a major river running through our town. It’s the reason why (the city is) so involved and also nationally known on our water conservation efforts and how we acquired and secured water all these years to make us a great city. There’s a conservation department that doesn’t care for having bluegrass on the Front Range, but if it’s done smartly, we can all live in harmony, to be cheesy.

We (as an area) thought, we already squeezed our lawns, we can accept a few brown spots here and there in the summertime when it doesn’t rain. It became more of, ‘Let’s have less lawn and more of a xeric model and understand irrigation better.’

In 2002, technology was limited, and in Colorado before that drought, if you had a brown spot in the middle of a big (turfgrass) area, you turned up all the zones. You just watered it. When we went to two-day-per-week restrictions in 2003 and 2004, people understood that we’d been wasting water. That was a critical point in water conservation.

The equipment has evolved from just throwing in sprinklers and setting it and forgetting it without any thought to what water efficiency is. That changed by way of education to get to the point where we know what new technology is, and we know how to use it and implement it.

Yard needing irrigation (Photo: Weisburg Landscape Maintenance)

Top of mind A 2002 drought made smart irrigation a huge priority in Colorado Springs. (Photo: Weisburg Landscape Maintenance)

From the very beginning, we have embraced the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Landscape Industry Certified program. We embraced that in the early 2000s. I got mine back in 2004. In 2017 and 2018, we made the top three companies in America for how many people on staff that were certified. It’s a big deal, and we’re not that big of a company, but it made me appreciate the emphasis we put on education early on. At this point, all of our irrigation staff are certified, which has put us in a position of being a leader in our region.

 

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's associate editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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