SEASONAL IRRIGATION PROGRAM FOR HOMEOWNERS ON AN URBAN ISLANDJERRY WARRENTEXAS COOPERATIVE EXTENSIONBEXAR COUNTY SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
Is a unique groundwater system and one of the most prolific artesian aquifer in the world. It is one of the greatest natural resources on Earth. Serves the diverse agricultural, industrial, recreational, and domestic needs of almost two million users in south central Texas. Where our water comes from?
Edward Aquifer • Primary source of water • Stretches over 8,000 sq. miles, only 500 feet below the surface • In 1920, usage was about 22 millions gallons of water per day. • In 2004, 154 millions of gallons of water are pumped each day. • In 2006, about same as 04.
Major Water Providers • SAWS: obtains “Ground water” from the Edwards Aquifer and Trinity Aquifer. Last year- surface water from Canyon Lake. • BexarMet: obtains “Surface water” from the Medina River, making it the first facility in San Antonio area to treat surface water
History • BexarMet has provided water to about 250,000 residents of San Antonio, since 1999 • SAWS has provided water to about 400,000 residents of San Antonio, since 1935
San Antonio • Economy depends on Water • San Antonio has many tourist attractions and a growing population • By Yr. 2035, Tx will have only 85% of water needed
San Antonio’s Growth • Industry/Business & households • Population Growth • 1990-2000 S.A. had 20% growth to 1.2 m • Reach 2 m by end of decade • Growing demand for water
Indoor Water Use Homeowner use 75% of their water indoors & 25% on lawns & gardens
Bexar County- Most Identified Critical Issues at Tx Community Future Forum • Extension conducts a TCFF in each county every 3-5 yrs • Invite key individuals to identify & prioritize issues and concerns for county • Bexar County’s No. 1 issue • Water Quality/Quantity/Conservation and Access • Bexar County must develop a water conservation plan to address this issue
WATER CONSERVATION PLAN • Cooperative effort between Texas Cooperative Extension & San Antonio Water System (SAWS) • Initial study started about 10 years ago-selected 65 homeowners to be involved in first trial. • Data used to make recommendations • use changing “variables” for amount of -water to be applied vs. set amount and “variable” days • 100% ET replacement used as appropriate protocol
CONTRACT WITH S.A.W.S. • Texas Cooperative Extension-Bexar County and San Antonio Water System: • TCE will make lawn watering recommendations to homeowners-daily from March 1st thru Oct. 31st. Monthly Nov. thru Feb. • Automated e-mail & phone message (6500+ homeowners) • SIP Hotline – manned by Master Gardeners • San Antonio Express News- Saturday Edition
www.saws.org/conservation/sip Web site for SIP
What Is SIP? • SIP is based on Evapotranspiration Technology or ET • ET utilizes local weather data to calculate how much water is lost from soil and used by plants over time. • These calculations are applied to turf grass and converted into weekly irrigation advice.
(Used with Permission) Does SIP Work? • YES!! • We have done studies for five years on SIP in San Antonio. • Participants have saved water, money and had great lawns.
How SIP helps homeowners? • SIP advice tells you how much water your grass needs each week. • Each person selects day to receive message • Find out first how much water your system puts out; measure using a SIP kit.
Free SIP Kits Available • Kits contain: • 4 catch cups • a rain gauge • conservation tips • refrigerator magnet
Free Irrigation check-ups can be arranged through SAWS Covered heads Geysers Poor Design Out of Adjustment
Grasses for Bexar County • 1. St. Augustine Needs Most Water (Best in Shade) • “TIF” Bermuda • Zoysia • 4. Common Bermuda • 5. Buffalo Needs Least Water • (Best in Sun)
Other Landscape Options Use Less Water 25% of Homeowners water goes to lawns
Mulched Beds & Pervious Surfaces Look Great!
USE LESS WATER AND LOOKS GREAT Proper Irrigation Proper Aeration Proper Fertilization Proper Mowing
GPCD Trends Average 5 year drop = 3.25 gpcd/year Average 10 year drop = 3.0 gpcd/year To Meet Goal = 1.3 gpcd/year over ten years Best proof of success
How do we measure success? • One benchmark of long-term progress is gpcd (ALL water/All people) • San Antonio is currently using 130 gallons/capita/day (gpcd) • This takes into account all household, business and recreational water usage • We use long-term trends to project long-term savings and water supply needs • Current long-term goal is 116 gpcd by 2016.
Savings Calculations Ex. • Seasonal Irrigation Program • #households(9,000 gallons)/year • Based on comparison of households in same neighborhoods SIP/non SIP water usage • Assume no savings past one year during receipt of messages • $187/AF (one year assumed life of savings)
130.4 Tracking 2005; Dry Year Actual 2005 GPCD 128 Dry Year 2005 = 133.71
Participation by Program 2006 = 6500
2005 Savings Highlights • Distributed 23,500 toilets =over 700 AF saved • 250 indoor home audits, 29 commercial irrigation analyses, 263 residential irrigation analyses = 65 AF saved • 5,112 participants in Seasonal Irrigation Program = 140 AF saved • 512 households served by Plumbers to People Program = 255 AF saved
Success Indicators • Increased Public participation • Calculations of AF saved/program • GPCD trends (direct programs don’t account for all savings—drought, cost increases, and change in expected norms) • Attitudes of the public is better
New Project started in 2005 Turfgrass Drought Study • 60 day Drought Survival Study • Initial preparation for 25 variety drought study on St Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda, & Buffalo grasses • Plot size - 4ft x 4ft & replicated 4 times
Drought Study Cont…. Study Planted Sept. 05 include • Half of Grass plots are planted on 4” of native soil over an impermeable plastic barrier • Half on native soil with no barrier.
Drought Study Field Day • Same set of grasses planted on similar plot in 9/06 for study in 07 • Grasses will be evaluated during drought & recovery period • Results used to develop recommended Turfgrass list for Home Builders
Rain-out Shelter • Shelter constructed to prevent rain • Sensors detect rainfall & automatically moves across the plot • SAWS contributed $115,000 to project • TPT contributed $22,594 + in-kind service
SIP PARTNERS Thanks for your time