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Why we need to conserve water for our future

June 6, 2022 -  By
Water management strategies need to reflect current water restrictions, availability of materials, rising water costs and more. (Photo: MaYcaL/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Water management strategies need to reflect current water restrictions, availability of materials, rising water costs and more. (Photo: MaYcaL/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

It’s that time of year again, and families are busy planning vacations and gearing up for summer activities. In the landscape industry, we are likewise preparing for summer. While summer vacation is on everyone’s mind, landscapers everywhere are preparing for the busiest time of the year. Summer is crunch time! The days will be longer and the climate is much warmer.

Summer 2022 just got more complicated with the drought in the West, presenting the most challenging conditions in our lifetime and the last 1,200 years.

Landscapers in drought-affected areas face an incredible obstacle. In California, the governor has issued an executive order that will limit our water usage capacity due to the megadrought.

A megadrought, by definition, is “a severe drought lasting for two or more decades.” The driest parts of the West are already in the grips of a megadrought. And while some states may not be in the same situation as California, there may be a day soon when they’re in a similar position.

The message to conserve water has not changed, but the urgency to do so is becoming more relevant. My message for water management also has not changed, but every year my strategy, the solutions and our goals do. When evaluating water management strategies annually, make sure to consider the following:

  • Water restrictions in place.
  • Aging irrigation systems.
  • Labor shortages.
  • Rising fuel costs.
  • Availability of and increasing costs of materials.
  • Rising costs of water.

With some or all of these hurdles, it’s essential to identify the potential opportunities that water management can alleviate. Looking ahead at water availability and restrictions, I foresee potential issues with plant health, penalties/fines and labor demand.

Work smarter, not harder

Smart controllers are a great solution to help manage watering days restrictions or windows. I am a big proponent of technology, and if I can use it to optimize my resources, I’m working smarter and not harder.

I appreciate that progressive manufacturers like HydroPoint have features such as compliance monitors. This simple feature helps track drought information and keep our communities and properties within restrictions set by local municipalities. Explaining that feature to any potential client amid a drought is a game-changer. Aside from helping to manage the watering schedules while keeping the plants healthy, other benefits are labor savings, reduced vehicle maintenance and fuel savings. If you can measure the value of maintaining a healthy landscape while keeping the operating cost down, then the importance of water management becomes one of the most significant benefits.

Changing consumption habits

Even if you are reducing the amount of water used, chances are the amount spent has gone up since the price of water gradually increases every year. Solutions to slow down the amount of water used would be to increase the irrigation uniformity or reduce the amount of water-thirsty plants.

I have found that using pressure-regulating sprinklers, lower precipitation nozzles for both sprayheads and rotors and drip irrigation can drastically reduce water usage by up to 40 percent. A benefit of using drip irrigation is a reduction in labor by minimizing the amount of overwatered areas, potentially creating more weeds. Weeds lead to more labor and/or chemicals needed to maintain landscaped areas. Drip irrigation also reduces the amount of water damage to walls, fences and streets by eliminating overspray and misting. These are just additional values and benefits of proper water management.

I am fortunate to be in a position and working for a company that helps our clients and helps our industry move in the direction of water management. When considering water management internally within your company or with clients, look at the solutions or benefits that add value. It will help your bottom line and keep your clients in the best position to maintain optimum landscape appearance; plus, it is the right thing to do for the environment.

Let’s save water together!

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