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Future advanced water tools

May 20, 2008

Published in: News

I just returned from the American Society of Irrigation Consultants yearly conference, and have gotten quite inspired by the presentations on reducing water consumption.

Consider these facts:

  • from 1992 to 2008, water has increased in cost by 500% (Southern Nevada Water Authority)
  • inflation for the same period was 65%
  • ornamental lawns are going to be increasingly frowned upon
  • water is only going to get more scarce, and more expensive
  • It behooves us as designers to utilize all waters sources -- rainwater catchment and harvesting, fire sprinkler purging, air conditioner condensate, etc.
  • more and more projects are going to require a secondary water source (non-potable, storm water catchment, rainwater harvested, etc)

Among the LEED certification points that can be acquired by the Landscape and Irrigation design:

  • 14 points if using all rainwater that falls on the site
  • reducing potable water by 50% below baseline, or no potable or no irrigation -- 3 credits, 5 points
  • using recycled or regional material (by weight)
  • 4 points for integrated water conservation

So what can we do to help?
We will be adding some manufacturers that make equipment and turnkey systems to our irrigation database. There have been advancements with Moisture Sensors, and there are now turnkey systems to filter, store, and pump rainwater from a building's roof. We will also be adding manufacturers of permeable pavers.

We will also be putting together some plants lists, and hopefully some generic details, for everything from drought-tolerant lawn replacements, to green roof designs.
And among the simplest things we can add, is an ability to help calculate the amount of rainfall in gallons a site or building footprint can expect to generate, either from a storm or yearly.

Irrigation needs to be more intelligent, and part of the initial project design. Whether it is just replacing a existing home's front lawn, or creating a design that can subsist on stored rainwater, or just to meet the new European standards on greenroofs, we can all do our part to help create a more sustainable world.

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