Working toward a conservation lifestyle with landscape professionals

On April 20, over 80 landscape professionals and Santa Clara Valley Water District staff came together for a brainstorming session on implementing conservation as a lifestyle  through efficient landscape practices.

The water district facilitated its second landscape summit at Cupertino Community Hall.  The five hour session consisted of a status of current water supply conditions in the state and Santa Clara County; four case studies of exemplary conservation achievements in residential and commercial landscape, innovative water management, and graywater and rainwater harvesting; and some group break out sessions and action planning.

After hearing the case study presentations, which included representatives from Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, Bay Maples, Wild California Gardens, BrightView Landscape Services and landscape architect Stephanie Morris, district staff guided summit participants in small groups to brainstorm innovative ways and resources needed to improve landscape management and irrigation practices.

Participants felt invigorated by both the case studies and break out sessions. There was strong interest in collaboration between designers, contractors and front-line maintenance workers; expanding public education and awareness with demonstration water-wise gardens, and developing guidelines to increase conservation. The district is committed to working with local landscape industry professionals toward these efforts.

According to the water district’s 2012 Water Supply and Infrastructure Mater Plan (a strategy document identifying the needed resources to meet our region’s future water supply demands),  we need to save an additional 30,000 acre-feet a year to meet our future demands over the next 15 years, or roughly enough water used by 60,000 families of five in a year. The landscaping industry plays a key role in achieving the target.

Although Governor Jerry Brown recently declared an end to the drought state of emergency, there is statewide emphasis on making permanent changes to retain water-saving practices in our everyday lives. The governor seeks to achieve this by retaining restrictions to curb water waste like hosing off sidewalks, or watering within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.

Under Gov. Brown’s direction, various state agencies including the Department of Water Resources and State Water Resources Control Board,  published a report titled, “Making Conservation a California Way of Life.” The report details ways to implement the governor’s instruction to state agencies to help residents adopt permanent changes for conservation.

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