Why we need to conserve water for our future

Water management strategies should reflect current water restrictions, material availability, 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 their vacations and getting ready for summer activities. In the landscape industry, we are also preparing for the summer. With summer vacation on everyone’s minds, landscapers around the world are gearing up for the busiest time of the year. Summer is the crucial time! The days will be longer and the climate is much warmer.

The summer of 2022 just got complicated with the drought in the West, presenting the most difficult conditions in our lifetime and in the last 1,200 years.

Landscapers in drought-affected areas face an incredible hurdle. In California, the governor has issued an executive order that will limit our ability to use water due to the mega-drought.

A mega-drought, by definition, is “a severe drought that lasts two decades or more”. The drier regions of the West are already in the grip of a mega-drought. And while some states may not be in the same situation as California, they may one day find themselves 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 has not changed either, but each year my strategy, the solutions and our objectives change. When evaluating water management strategies annually, be sure to consider the following:

  • Water restrictions in place.
  • Aging irrigation systems.
  • Labor shortages.
  • Rise in fuel prices.
  • Availability and increased cost of materials.
  • Rising water prices.

With some or all of these barriers, it is essential to identify potential opportunities that water management can mitigate. Regarding water availability and restrictions, I foresee potential issues related to plant health, penalties/fines, and labor demand.

Work smarter, not harder

Smart controllers are a great solution to help manage watering day restrictions or windows. I’m a big believer in technology, and if I can use it to optimize my resources, I work smarter, not harder.

I appreciate that progressive manufacturers like Point Hydro have features like compliance monitors. This simple feature helps track drought information and keep our communities and properties within limits set by local municipalities. Explaining this feature to any potential customer during a drought is a game changer. Along with helping manage watering schedules while keeping plants healthy, other benefits include labor savings, reduced vehicle maintenance, and fuel savings. If you can measure the value of maintaining a healthy landscape while reducing operating costs, then the importance of water management becomes one of the most significant benefits.

Changing consumer habits

Even if you reduce the amount of water used, there is a good chance that the amount spent has increased since the price of water increases gradually every year. Solutions to slow down the amount of water used would be to increase the uniformity of irrigation or reduce the amount of water-thirsty plants.

I have found that using pressure-regulating sprinklers, low-precipitation nozzles for spray heads and rotors, and drip irrigation can dramatically reduce water use by up to 40%. One of the benefits of using drip irrigation is a reduction in labor by minimizing the amount of overwatered areas, potentially creating more weeds. Weeds result in 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 good water management.

I am fortunate to hold a position and work for a company that helps our customers and helps our industry move towards water management. When considering water management internally within your business or with customers, consider solutions or benefits that add value. This will help your bottom line and keep your clients in the best position to maintain an optimal landscape appearance; Plus, it’s the right thing to do for the environment.

Together, let’s save water!

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