Project lead, Salt Lake City Public Utility Water Conservation is providing funding for this pilot program and will track the water use of landscapes over time. SLC is also distributing the seed at an event yet to come. The Center for Water Efficient Landscaping (CWEL) is creating educational content to help participants transition their turf to more water efficient turf cultivars! Finally, to ensure landscapes are being watered effectively, participants can use the TWCA Irrigation Calculator to find their ideal runtime!
Currently, landscape water use in the Salt Lake City area ranges between 29 and 35 inches of water per summer season. To compare, Kentucky bluegrass, widely misconceived as being an exceptionally thirsty plant requires 24 to 25 inches. TWCA Qualified turf requires approximately 18 inches.
SLC Public Utilities Water Conservationist, Stephanie Duer is reporting a 50% reduction in water use at the Concord Lifting Station in the months following the landscape conversion for SLC Turf Trade. The location was selected for conversion as a demonstration canvas for landscape practices suggested by the Center for Water Efficiency (CWEL). This conversion incorporates several different landscaping practices to maximize water efficiency. Common landscape tactics for increasing water efficiency include hydrozoning, or grouping plants according to their water need, turf area reduction, and optimizing irrigation design and hardwater for water efficiency.
The 50% reduction in water use demonstrates the remarkable impact of plant selection, landscape design, and irrigation efficiency. Most current water savings her stem from landscape design and irrigation optimization. The third aspect, plant selection has yet to realize its conservation potential. The longer return time on plant selection often puts it off the list of feasible landscape conversion practices. Here, though, a landscape can feasibly, and practically deliver water conservation beyond 50% for the duration of the landscape lifecycle. Beyond the reduction in water, retaining turf in the design preserves the ecological benefits of the landscape.
CWEL recently released the playlist for overseeding turfgrass with each step its own individual video. These videos are designed to make the process of lawn conversion as simple and straight forward as possible for even the novice landscaper. The videos are available on the CWEL YouTube Channel.
Successfully converting existing turf to TWCA Qualified turf will save up to 3.7 million gallons of water. That is just the savings from this pilot project alone! By participating in this project citizens are making a positive change in the community and, by showing what is possible, affecting that change in communities around the world.
Jack Karlin is the Program Administrator for TWCA. His interest is in using policy and the built environment to create livable and sustainable communities.