Water Well with CWEL monthly webinar

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    Join Utah State University's Center for Water Efficient Landscaping in a monthly webinar series, "Water Well with CWEL" on the 2nd Tuesday of each month @ 2 p.m. (MST). Leave us your name & email & we'll keep you updated on the monthly speakers & topics.

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    PREVIOUS WEBINARS

    June 8, 2021, 2pm

    The Unexpected Impacts of Trees and Parcel Size on Metered Water-Use in a Semi-Arid City

    Shaunie Rasmussen, Research Associate, US Forest Service, University of Colorado, Fort Collins

    Colorado’s water supply is under threat due to climate change pressures and population growth, however Colorado has been recognized to have some of the most progressive water conservation programs in the country. Limiting outdoor water consumption is an increasingly popular approach to conserving water in semi-arid cities, yet in order to implement effective water reduction and conservation policies, more utilities and city managers need a firm understanding of the local drivers of outdoor water consumption. 

    This research explores the drivers of outdoor water consumption in a semi-arid, medium-sized Colorado city that is projected to undergo significant population growth. We used a combination of correlation and linear regression analyses to identify the key descriptive variables that predict greater water consumption at the household scale. Some results were specific to the development patterns of this medium-sized city, where outdoor water use increased 7% for each additional mile (1.6 km) a household was located from the historic urban center. Similarly, more expensive homes used more water as well.

    Surprisingly, households with a higher ratio of vegetation cover to parcel size tended toward less water consumption. This result could be because parcels that are shaded by their tree canopy require less irrigation. We discuss these results to assist city managers and policymakers in creating water-efficient landscapes and provide information that can be leveraged to increase awareness for water conservation in a growing, semi-arid city.

    Recording coming soon

    May 6, 2021, 10am-noon

    Utah Water Conservation Forum Spring Conference: The Future of Water

    Session 1

    PART I: Growing Sustainability for Business and Universities

      • USU Sustainability
      • Merit Medical Sustainability Program
      • Jordan Valley Water Strategic Water Management Program

    PART II: How New Water Saving Technology is Making an Impact

      • EPA Watersense Program
      • Orbit Irrigation
      • Sprinkler Supply

    May 13, 10am-noon

    Session 2

    PART I: Utah State University Water Research Influencing Change in Utah

      • Daytime Watering
      • USU Water-Wise Demonstration Street
      • Multi-year Predictability of the Colorado River Water Supply

    PART II: Grey Water in Utah

      • Graywater Rule Administration and Approval
      • Residential Graywater

    April 13, 2021, 2pm

    Lawn Watering: When to Start and How Much to Apply

    Kelly Kopp, CWEL, Utah State University


    Without the proper tools watering the lawn can be a bit of a guessing game. Those tools can be as simple as a hose, sprinkler, and a screwdriver to test soil moisture. In past webinars we’ve covered complex topics like evapotranspiration (ET), weather stations, and smart irrigation controllers.

    This month, we’re going to get back to basics and hopefully get homeowners off to a great start this watering season.

    Join us as Kelly Kopp, USU Extension Water Conservation and Turf Specialist, answers your questions like; When should I start watering? How much should I apply? Do some lawn types need more water than others? She’ll also pass along water savings tips and resources, like having a free water check performed, or participating in Utah’s state-wide smart controller rebate program. And believe it or not, letting the lawn go dormant. Yes, your lawn can safely go dormant for 3-4 weeks without dying during the summer.

    With 90% of the state experiencing extreme drought, Gov. Spencer J. Cox’s recent Executive Order declaring a state of emergency due to drought conditions, and the irrigation season right around the corner there’s no better time to cover proper lawn watering practices and get homeowners off to a great start this watering season. Water providers & conservation coordinators, please share with your clientele. Hope to see you all via Zoom on Tuesday, April 13th @ 2pm to learn more. 

    March 9, 2021, 2pm

    Utah Climate Center Weather Station Network in Utah Communities to Support Landscape Water Conservation

    Evan Berrett, Assistant to the City Administrator, Eagle Mountain City

    Stephanie Duer, Water Conservation Manager, Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities

    Jobie Carlisle and Alan Moller, Research Technicians, Utah Climate Center

    Kelly Kopp and Joanna Endter-Wada, CWEL, Utah State University

    Water conservation is critical to Utah’s long-term sustainability, and improved management of outdoor water use is a key element to achieving it. The use of local weather station data to calculate reference evapotranspiration (ET) is one method that can be used to improve urban landscape water use efficiency.

    Until recently, the Eagle Mountain City (EMC) and Salt Lake City (SLC) areas had few publicly accessible weather stations that were appropriately sited and maintained and that had the necessary sensors to make measurements for calculation of the Penman-Monteith ET. USU/CWEL and the Utah Climate Center (UCC), in partnership with Eagle Mountain City and Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities, secured funding to install research-quality urban ET weather stations, 2 in Eagle Mountain City and 5 in the SLCPU Service Area.

    These new stations, along with an existing ET weather station at the Murray Parkway Golf Course in SLCDPU service area, are now providing weather data to calculate reference ET. These data can improve irrigation controller scheduling – not only at EMC and SLC public facilities but for any local resident to access. Learn about these weather stations, the data and accompanying research, and how to access the UCC website to see and download data from these state-of-the-art weather stations.

    February 9, 2021

    Land Cover Mapping for Applied Research Projects

    Christopher McGinty, Assistant Director, Remote Sensing / GIS Laboratory, Utah State University

    Ellie Leydsman McGinty, Researcher, Remote Sensing/GIS Laboratory, Utah State University

    The Remote Sensing/GIS (RS/GIS) Laboratory in the Quinney College of Natural Resources, directed by Dr. R. Douglas Ramsey, has conducted geospatial research in support of numerous topics for over 30 years.

    Understanding the importance and value of remotely sensed Earth observation data for natural resource management, the RS/GIS Laboratory has focused on the development of land cover and land use modeling and mapping methods, particularly in respect to the arid lands of the western United States.

    In recent years, the RS/GIS Laboratory has become a leading developer of accurate high-resolution land cover datasets to support riparian restoration, watershed health assessments, and urban land cover studies. Of particular note, detailed urban land cover data have been developed to support analyses for the Utah State University Water Management Analysis and Planning Software (WaterMAPS™). WaterMAPS™ is a custom water demand management tool that is led by Dr. Joanna Endter-Wada in the Quinney College of Natural Resources, Department of Environment and Society.

    This month we’re fortunate to have Ellie Leydsman McGinty and Christopher McGinty with USU’s Remote Sensing/GIS Laboratory, discussing key projects that the RS/GIS Laboratory has completed as well as an in-depth review of the methods that have been implemented to develop high-resolution land cover datasets for WaterMAPS™.

    January 12, 2021

    Day vs Night Irrigation

    Melanie Stock, Utah State University Extension


    Balancing 
    water supply with population growth is a top challenge in Utah. One widely accepted strategy to conserve water is irrigating at night instead of during the day. However, as demand exceeds capacity and the method has come under question, research is needed to determine whether a water savings actually exists with nighttime irrigation (and if so, how much) for policy decisions. To kick off 2021 we're fortunate to have Melanie Stock, USU Extension Urban & Small Farms Specialist, discuss the current urban irrigation needs of Utah stakeholders, reasoning behind the inefficiencies of day and night irrigation times, and the research that Utah State University is conducting to answer the question: Is nighttime irrigation more efficient than daytime irrigation?

    November 10, 2020

    Green Infrastructure

    Roslyn McCann, Utah State University Extension Sustainability 

    Jeffrey Adams, TerraSophia, LLC., Moab, Utah

    Stormwater is an abundant resource that is often thought of as a waste product. Join Jeffrey Adams and Roslynn Brain McCann as they share the current status of Utah’s stormwater codes, examples of green infrastructure ordinances in other Western states, and case studies of green infrastructure in Moab Utah. The case study examples will include effective use of curb cutting, swales, basins, mulch cover, and tree canopies demonstrated to provide cooling, traffic calming, and carbon sequestration benefits.

    October 13, 2020

    Creating Natural Landscapes Given Local Societal Norms & Constraints

    Mark Hostetler, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, University of Florida

    The design of urban yards is key to reducing natural resource consumption in cities. However, going from turf lawns and ornamental plants to more native vegetation with structural complexity is contingent on public acceptance. Addressing social/ cultural values is important and landscape designers frequently point to the need for yards to be designed with human intent, or ‘cues to care’. Cues to care studies have explored what kinds of designs and maintenance practices indicate that a landscape meets cultural expectations of standards for maintenance. The intent is to create more ecological landscapes, but research on cues to care has been sparse and results are often misinterpreted.

    September 8, 2020

    Rain Water Harvesting in Utah

    Roslynn Brain McCann, Utah State University Extension Sustainability

    Jeff Adams, TerraSophia LLC, Moab, Utah

    Roslynn Brain McCann and Jeff Adams will provide an overview of Utah’s rainwater harvesting code, technical considerations for catchment tanks, and briefly introduce water harvesting earthworks. Additional details regarding earthworks will be provided in November’s webinar.

     

    June 9, 2020

    Grey Water in Utah

    Roslynn Brain McCann, Utah State University Extension Sustainability

    Jeff Adams, TerraSophia LLC

    In this month's webinar Roslynn Brain McCann and Jeff Adams join us. They discuss what grey water is, what changes have taken place with our state policy, examples of grey water systems, and how you can install a grey water system, whether in a new construction area or through retrofitting.

     

    April 14, 2020

    Water-wise Demonstration Street

    Jake Powell, Landscape Architecture Specialist, Utah State University

    Jake Powell, Landscape Architecture Specialist with Utah State University, introduces a demonstration street project recently installed in Cedar City, UT. In 2019, the Iron County Extension office received grant funding to create a demonstration street showcasing residential low water, low impact, low maintenance, and sustainable landscaped front yards. Our hope is that the concept of a comparison “demonstration street” & supporting educational materials will help homeowners and professionals by providing a viewable, residential scale template and demystify complex water conservation concepts. In addition, we intend to show that sustainable landscapes require less maintenance, generate less green waste, and can be just as attractive, functional, and economical as a traditional landscape. These landscapes will serve as working residential scale demonstration gardens and ongoing research locations.

     

    March 10, 2020

    Drip Irrigation 2.0

    Colton Smith, Intern for Utah State University, Bridger Park Community Garden 

    In this month's webinar we expand on October’s webinar, Drip Irrigation 101, by tying in practical application and scheduling. Colton Smith interned with Utah State University Extension where he ran studies, drip irrigation, and monitored soil moisture. In 2019 Colton planted Tomatoes with the goal of comparing three different watering schedules; low, medium, and high with standard homeowner practices used as a baseline. Colton will briefly review the main drip components, walk you through the pros & cons, and talk about some of the troubles they ran into along the way. As a bonus, he’ll summarize the findings of the tomato watering project.

     

    February 11, 2020

    Smart vs. Manually Programmed Irrigation Controllers

    Shane Evans, Graduate Student, MS Plant Science Department 

    In this month's webinar Shane Evans discusses smart irrigation controllers. He explains how residential and commercial landscapes are often over-watered to ensure plants remain vibrant and visually pleasing. However, over irrigation can lead to plant disease, nutrient leaching, and depletion of water supply. In recent years, irrigation technology has improved significantly with the advent of smart homes and irrigation controllers. Shane discusses how smart irrigation controllers affect water conservation in the urban landscape and how they can prevent plant disease, nutrient leaching, and depletion of water supplies.

    January 14, 2020

    Alternate Water Sources

    Lauren Allen, founding member of Greywater Action

    This month Laura Allen, founding member of Greywater Action, joins us. Laura has spent the past 20 years exploring low-tech sustainable water solutions and has lead many classes and workshops on rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse, and composting toilets. In this webinar Laura discusses the latest online learning opportunity, “Alternate Water Sources” and what is offered through the Northwest Water and Energy Education Institute at Lane Community College. Laura introduces Greywater Action, provides a course overview and highlights to get you excited about this online learning opportun

     

    December 9, 2019

    Water Well With CWEL

    Larry Rupp, Extension Horticulture Specialist with Utah State University

    This Month, Larry Rupp, Extension Horticulture Specialist with Utah State University joins us. Larry provides an overview of water conservation publications that have been produced & promoted through USU’s Center for Water Efficient Landscaping. The primary emphasize is on the Combinations for Conservation book & the plans for a second edition. The Center for Water Efficient Landscaping (CWEL) is planning to crowd source images for round two & will be looking for input from you all. 

    October 8, 2019

    Drip Irrigation 101

    David Rice, conservation coordinator with the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District

    David Rice, conservation coordinator with the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, provides basic skills on designing and installing a drip-irrigation system. David shows how to select and assemble components, and what there resulting benefits are. Drip irrigation is the water-smart way!

     

    September 10, 2019

    Weed Management

    Mike Lorenc, lead horticulturist with the Conservation Garden Park

    Mike Lorenc, lead horticullturist with the Conservation Garden park, provides information on what weeds are, how to manage weed growth, and all the terminology you need to know on weeds.

     

    August 13, 2019

    Creating A Water-wise Park Strip

    Cynthia Bee, Outreach Coordinator, Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District

    In this webinar Cynthia Bee, Outreach Coordinator with the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, walks us through improving our park strips. In this webinar you’ll learn how to flip your strip, making irrigation changes, and learn about many plants that can happily live in the harsh conditions of park strips.

     

    July 7, 2019

    Introduction to Localscapes

    Cynthia Bee, Outreach Coordinator, Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District

    Are you in the process of designing or rethinking your landscape? Cynthia Bee, Outreach Coordinator with the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, givies us a quick version of their introduction to Localscapes course.

     

    June 11, 2019

    Drought Tolerant Turf

    Jack Karlin, program administrator with TWCA

    In this webinar we introduce you to the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA), whose main goal is to test and recognize turfgrass varieties that provide a clear benefit in water conservation. Jack Karlin, program administrator with TWCA, shares & compares drought tolerant Kentucky Bluegrass & Fescue varieties. 

     

    May 14, 2019

    Efficient Landscape Design with the WaterSense Water Budget Tool

    Julius Duncan, EPA WaterSense

    In this webinar Julius Duncan, with the EPA WaterSense program, joins us. Julius discusses the WaterSense Landscape Water Budget tool, which can be used by homeowners, property managers, or irrigation professionals to estimate the efficiency of the amount of water applied to a landscape based on local climate data. Users can input their landscape area, plant type, and irrigation type, and the tool will provide a result of the ideal water allowance compared to the actual water use. The goal is to give users a tool that can help them design a more water efficient landscape.

     

    Apr 9, 2019

    Increasing Microbial Activity and Organic Matter in Soil

    Grant Cardon, USU Extension Soil Specialist

    In this webinar, Grant Cardon USU Extension Soil Specialist, joins us. Grant discusses how organic matter and living organisms work together to form stable aggregates, or crumbs, which are the foundation for optimal soil function. He also covers important how-to’s and tips for improving water holding capacity of your landscape, garden, or farm. 

     

    March 12, 2019

    Irrigation Tips for Healthy Orchards

    Brent Black, USU Extension Fruit Specialist

    In this webinar, Brent will provide an overview of proper irrigation practices and why it's essential to maintain healthy and productive fruit trees. He discusses how over-irrigation slows root growth, increases iron chlorosis in alkaline soils, and leaches nutrients out of the tree's root zone, leading to nutrient deficiencies. Over-irrigation can also induce excessive vegetative growth, reduces fruit size, and provides the ideal environment for crown and collar rots. On the flip side, applying insufficient water results in drought stress and reduced fruit size and quality, which reduces income (for all you producers out there). 

     

    February 12, 2019

    Water Conservation Gardens

    Fritz Kollmann, Red Butte Garden & Arboretum

     In this webinar, Fritz Kollmann joins us to provide an overview of the new water conservation garden and touch on their evaluation of the passive water catchment techniques, irrigation systems and soil amendments used at the garden. He also highlights new plants they've selected, paying special special attention to hardy succulents and how to grow them successfully.

    December 11, 2018

    Lessons Learned and Water Saved Through Metering Irrigation Water

    David Rice, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District

    Weber Basin Water Conservancy District is a wholesale water provider in Northern Utah that provides drinking water to a population of over 620,000 people, water for industrial uses, secondary irrigation water for residential and commercial properties and agricultural irrigation water.    Up until 2010, the pressurized secondary irrigation water was unmetered and users were charged a flat rate for water allocated to their parcel.   In 2010, the District began to install meters and provide users with a monthly report on their usage in comparison to an estimated need based on parcel size and weather data.   The results have been significant in reductions considering prior to meter install there was no knowledge of use.  Metering is now a top priority to be able to meet long term conservation goals and bring accountability to end users.

    November 13, 2018

    Water, Trees and Arid Urban Landscapes

    Heidi Kratsch, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

    Trees enhance urban communities by cleaning the air, reducing concentrations of greenhouse gases, reducing heating and cooling costs, reducing crime, improving water quality, and beautifying our landscapes. Trees in arid urban landscapes face significant stressors due to low precipitation during the growing season and poor soil structure, making irrigation one of the most significant factors in their long-term survival. In this webinar, we address water needs for urban landscape trees, irrigation strategies, and the ramifications of improper watering on tree health.

    October 9, 2018

    Water University: Science Based Homeowner Education

    Clint Wolf, Program Manager, Water University

    The “real world” of the American homeowner is far removed from the ongoing research being done in landscape water conservation. He is not privy to the reams of information being published on all sorts of new findings and more efficient watering techniques. He is at the mercy of his own limited knowledge and that of the “neighborhood expert”.
    The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas have created Water University, an online and hands on resources for water conservation education. Water U will give consumers and professionals the desired information on water education at a click of a button. AgriLife Water University offers an array of educational series to homeowners, landscape professionals, engineers and municipal personnel, with a focus on landscape water conservation practices and irrigation efficiency. The new Water University will provide online educational opportunities like how to videos and publications, website links and an easy way to register online for onsite and offsite classes, trainings and workshops. An added benefit to Water University is a tool to track workshop participant water savings and willingness to adopt best management practices.
    Water University will allow our partners of federal, state, and local government, non-profits, nursery & landscape professionals, schools districts and various other organizations to utilize the same programs within their own organizations, cities and counties. The offsite classes and workshop service will ease the day to day operation and demand of their schedules. Our partners choose the location and market the class while we take care of the online registration, speakers, presentations, demonstration materials, handouts, evaluations and overall coordination of the program.

    September 11, 2018

    Right Plants, Right Place: Creating and Managing a Large Landscape with Limited Water

    Bridger Varga, Landscape Manager at Wasatch Academy

    Too often, we try to re-create landscapes based on nostalgia and expectations that don’t match our actual water availability and climate.  Bridger Varga, landscape manager at Wasatch Academy, has worked to create and maintain a school landscape in rural Utah where water is limited and irrigation is restricted.  By choosing the right plants, and allowing them to naturalize, he has created a unique landscape that still fits into the arid environment and becomes an example of sustainability for students, faculty and the wider community.   Bridger will discuss the challenges and opportunities he has encountered creating this landscape. 

    July 10, 2018

    Turfgrass Science and Industry Cooperate to Answer the Call for Reduced Water Use

    Dr. Kelly Kopp, Ph.D., Utah State University

    CWEL's own Dr. Kopp discussed how industry and science are joining forces for water conservation.  The turfgrass industry and turfgrass scientists have been focused on sustainable turfgrass management practices for many years, resulting in reduced input of fertilizers, pesticides, and other products.  In more recent years, the focus has turned to turfgrass water use and now several cooperative efforts are underway to develop, test, and introduce low water use grasses into the industry.  This webinar introduced the various national programs focused on developing and testing low water use grasses, including identifying the resulting varieties and detailing Utah State University’s participation in these programs.

    June 12, 2018

    Subsurface Irrigation for Turfgrass Water Conservation

    Dr. Bernd Leinauer, Turfgrass Research and Extension, New Mexico State University

    Dr. Bernd Leinauer dives into the world of subsurface drip irrigation. Subsurface drip systems distribute water more efficiently and uniformly than standard sprinkler systems and their use is an important management strategy aimed at conserving water used in turfgrass irrigation. The following presentation will cover some of the most commonly asked questions about the installation and use of subsurface drip systems in turf. Participants of the webinar will learn of research findings regarding irrigation water use and of actual installations as part of Extension workshops.

    May 8, 2018

    Update on the Outdoor Water Use Research Initiative of the Alliance for Water Efficiency

    Peter Mayer P.E,. Principal at Water DM

    Peter Mayer updates us on AWE's comprehensive Outdoor Water Savings Research Program as they work to develop actionable information and data on the savings potential and actual water savings from a variety of outdoor efficiency measures.

    April 10, 2018

    A Wild West Tale: Debunking the Myth That Conservation Increases Rates

    Candice Rupprecht, Water Conservation Program Manager, City of Tucson

    Candice Rupprecht shared results of the Tucson Avoided Cost Analysis done in 2016 by WaterDM, in conjunction with Tucson Water and Pima County and the Alliance for Water Efficiency. This avoided cost analysis uses baseline data from 1987, the height of Tucson’s per capita demand, and compares the current water use scenario to a hypothetical, non-conserving scenario.

    March 13, 2018

    State of the State: Water Conservation Programs and Resources in the State of Utah

    Faye Rutishauser and Josh Palmer, Utah Division of Water Resources

    The State of Utah has several resources and programs available to communities and citizens to empower water efficiency statewide. One of the programs, Utah Water Use: Fame or Shame Report, will be entering its second summer, and has resulted in some interesting data and trends. Utah Division of Water Resources representatives will give an overview of State resources as well as a vision of the future of water conservation.

    February 13, 2018

    Smart Controller Pilot: Don't Set It and Forget It

    Tim York, Aurora Water, CO

    Aurora Water Conservation (AWC) conducted a two-growing season pilot program to gauge the effectiveness of “Smart” weather based controllers and in-ground system efficiency upgrades. With many contractors opting for the “Set it and forget it” mentality of smart irrigation technologies, AWC developed this pilot to gauge three scenarios of impact. The first scenario asked the landscape manager to leave the system alone including the controller. The second allowed for regular management of the controller. The final scenario included upgrade of the entire system. All three scenarios were instituted on a single site. Pre-pilot irrigation assessments were performed by AWC to record the efficiency of the system and provide actual precipitation rates and zone flows for calculating applied irrigation. The site owner’s current irrigation management contractor performed the equipment installation and system management utilizing ET WaterTM controllers. Continued collaboration between AWC and the irrigation contractor helped insure consistent data throughout the pilot giving significant data that could be applied to other properties. AWC utilized the data of this pilot to inform changes to our Irrigation Rebate Program and to determine the effectiveness of smart controllers. While savings were achieved in all three scenarios, the final results were somewhat surprising and helped impact a new rebate program focusing on multi-year water efficiency incentives.

    January 9, 2018

    Using Interactive Web-based Tools to Increase Outreach Efforts

    Katie Masucci, Water Education Coordinator for City of Plano, Texas

    The City of Plano’s online learning module, “Water, Water Everywhere: A Guide to Sprinkler Repair,” is a unique tool that empowers residents to manage their outdoor water use. Interactive and engaging, it is accessible anytime, anywhere, and its reach has expanded far beyond Plano since it went live in January of 2015. Users learn how to identify and repair common irrigation problems, including clogged nozzles, misaligned and broken heads and more. They also learn about the cycle and soak method using a mock irrigation controller that they program according to best practices for start times and run times. Of the City of Plano’s online learning modules, this one is consistently the top performer. Its design and content are valuable resources for homeowners, irrigators, educators and others!