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Webinar Series: Water Well with CWEL

2nd Tuesday of each month

2:00 pm MST

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.

Next Webinar

generic water well with cwel image of turf and a sprinkler head
NEXT WEBINAR September 10, 2 PM

There will not be a Water Well with CWEL webinar in August. Instead, we will have a Field Day where you can meet with our CWEL faculty and researchers. Below is the information about the Field Day. Also, attached is the flyer. 
Upcoming Field Day!
Please register 
Title: USU’s Center for Water Efficient Landscaping 2024 Field Day
Date & Time: August 13th, 2024, 10 am to 3:30 pm and optional Water-Wise Vines Evaluation at 7:30 am (Mountain Time) 
Location: USU Greenville Research Farm 
1890 N 800 E 
North Logan, UT 84341
(click here for google maps)
You are invited to a day of tours and engagement where faculty, staff, and graduate student researchers will present a diverse array of research topics. They will demonstrate their studies on low-water landscape plants and vines, demonstrate the proper strategy for tapping white birch trees for sap collection, discuss efficacy of smart irrigation controllers, and discuss the concept of resource-positive landscapes. Additionally, they will also highlight the best adapted turfgrass varieties, delve into using WaterMAPS™, and native plants for sustainable landscaping.

We will also provide complimentary lunch and conduct Landscape Transition tour of the campus landscapes of Utah State University including low-water, transitional, and higher water use areas to learn how outdoor irrigation water applications have been decreased by 40% over the last 5 years. This tour will be guided by Shane Richards, USU Landscape Operations and Maintenance Manager.
Register (free) here:
For Water-wise vines Evaluation click here  
For Center for Water Efficient landscaping Field Day 2024 click here
If you have any question contact susan.buffler@usu.edu or shital.poudyal@usu.edu


Previous Webinars

July 9, 20024, 2 PM

Adrea Dent, Director of Perennial Growing Operations at Perennial Favorites wholesale nursery

Native plants are adapted to local conditions, thus requiring fewer inputs and resources. Our presenter, Adrea will talk about the challenges and opportunities with growing native plants in the nursery industry. As low-water landscaping becomes more and more necessary in the Intermountain West, and consumers become more knowledgeable and excited about native plants - how do we source, supply, and promote those plants? She will discuss some of the challenges of propagating native plants, including propagules sources, propagation difficulties, and profitability.

Our presenter, Adrea Dent has been interested in native plants and low water landscaping since her undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture at UC Davis. During that time, she worked at the Davis Arboretum and became interested in both native plants and propagation. After working as a landscape architect in England for several years, she returned to her native Utah. She has worked on several publications including Combinations for Conservation - Recommended Plant Groupings for Low Water Landscapes, and Nurturing Native Plants - A Guide to Vegetative Propagation of Native Woody Plants in Utah. She is now the Director of Perennial Growing Operations at Perennial Favorites, a wholesale nursery in northern Utah.

Landscape Irrigation: Understanding Irrigation Components to Improve Water Use Efficiency for Residential and Commercial Landscapes

June 11, 2024 2PM

Steven Moore, Founder of Moore Water Management: Irrigation Consulting

Steven Moore, our presenter, will discuss the significance of each component within an effective irrigation system to improve landscape water management. The presentation will begin with the principles that drive proper hydrozoning; the first vital step in irrigation design. Delivery of water to each hydrozone requires sprinkler heads with proper nozzles or drip emitters, control valves, pressure regulators, piping and controllers to work together to sustain a healthy beautiful landscape. In addition, our presenter will go over how irrigation systems operate and what parts we can upgrade or replace to improve irrigation effectiveness. Lastly, based on his thirty years of experience, he will discuss and offer solutions to typical issues with landscape irrigation systems and management.

Steven Moore is a graduate of the Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning program at Utah State University. He has been involved in the landscape industry since 1980 where he gained hands-on experience in landscape and irrigation system design working for a landscape contractor and for a wholesale irrigation supply company. In 2001, he founded Irrisoft, where he developed and patented ‘Weather Reach’ smart irrigation control technology. His company, Moore Water Management, an irrigation consulting business, helps organizations use water wisely. Moore is active in industry affairs and continues to improve water use efficiency.

Residential Permaculture Design

May 14, 2024 2PM

Dr. Roslynn Brain McCann: Associate Professor and Extension Sustainability Specialist at Utah State University

When rainwater hits your roof what happens to it? Join Dr. Roslynn Brain McCann on a journey that will help you think through your home landscape design from an integrated, ecological - or permaculture - lens, starting at the top (your roof). We will explore ways to slow, spread, sink, and store rainwater and greywater on the landscape, and to use that water to grow perennial edible, pollinator attracting, soil stabilizing, nutrient accumulating, and nitrogen fixing plants. Ideally, you will leave with the intention to apply at least one new tool or technique to increase the water and ecological resilience of your own landscape.

Our presenter, Dr. Roslynn Brain McCann is an Extension Specialist at Utah State University. She uses conservation theory, communication techniques, and social marketing tools to foster positive environmental behaviors in the areas of land, air, food, water and energy conservation. She is also the coordinator for Utah Farm-Chef-Fork, the USU Permaculture Initiative, and Sustainable You! kids’ camps.

Understanding Utah's Landscape: Soil Formation, Properties, and Management for Optimal Moisture Regimes

April 9, 2024 2PM

Dr. Grant Cardon: Professor, Extension Soils Specialist, Utah State University, Logan, UT

In this presentation, Dr. Grant Cardon will explore how landforms and formation processes in Utah influence soil types and soil hydraulic properties. He will also explain the effects of soil disturbance and mixing that can alter those properties. In addition, he will share ideas on how soil fertility and organic matter management in landscapes contribute to maintaining optimal soil moisture levels.

Our presenter, Dr. Grant Cardon is a Professor and Extension Soils Specialist at Utah State University. He oversees the USU Soil Testing Lab, teaches three soil related courses on campus, and serves across the state by providing expert advice on soil-related matters. His expertise spans across various areas of soil science, including soil fertility management, soil salinity, soil conservation, and management of irrigated soils. Dr. Cardon's dedication to advancing soil science and his commitment to educating both students and the broader community have made him a respected figure in the field.

Cover Crops in the Garden

March 12, 2024 2PM

Allison Kosto: Montana State University Extension Agent, Broadwater County

  THIS WEBINAR WAS CANCELLED - We hope to reschedule at a later date

Cover crops, also called “green manure,” can provide a variety of benefits to the home garden. They can add organic matter, improve soil nutrients, break up soil compaction, increase water filtration, provide weed control and serve as a sacrifice crop. This webinar will cover the basics of cover crops in the home garden including benefits, uses, research, planting recommendations and types of crops that are most likely to be successful in the northwest.

Allison Kosto has been the Montana State University Extension Agent in Broadwater County since 2015 focusing on agriculture, community development and 4-H youth development. She has over 15 years of experience in Extension. She lives in her hometown and enjoys working on the family ranch, gardening, and spending time with her three children.

The Role of the Green Industry in a Changing Western Water Policy Landscape

February 13, 2024 - 2 PM

Dr. Joanna Endter-Wada: Professor of Natural Resource Policy and Social Science in the Department of Environment & Society, Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State University

This presentation focuses on opportunities that the green industry has to contribute to addressing water challenges in the western U.S. Recent changes in Utah water policy and findings from a statewide “Future of Great Salt Lake Survey” research report will help highlight implications for the roles nursery and landscape professionals can play in sustainability transitions.

Our presenter Dr. Joanna Endter-Wada is a Professor of Natural Resource Policy and Social Science in the Department of Environment & Society, Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State University. Her research focuses on water policy, urban landscape water use and conservation, the human dimensions of drought and climate change, the integration of land and water in planning, and the Great Salt Lake and its wetlands. Her USU Extension role includes working with the Center for Water Efficient Landscaping and leading the WaterMAPS™ applied research team. Dr. Endter-Wada has served at state and federal levels in policy-related appointments, including on the Water Advisory Team appointed by Governor Herbert that produced Utah’s 2017 Recommended State Water Strategy and currently on the Great Salt Lake Strike Team. She holds a Ph.D. from the School of Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.

How to Determine a Landscape Water Budget (Landscape Water Need)

January 9, 2024 - 2 PM

Dr. Shital Poudyal: Assistant Professor and Extension Horticulture Specialist, Plants, Soils and Climate, Utah State University

Whether you are installing a new landscape or maintaining an existing one, having a clear understanding of the landscape's water requirements is essential for determining the right amount of irrigation. This webinar will provide an overview of the fundamentals involved in assessing landscape water needs. Furthermore, our speaker will showcase a user-friendly tool designed to facilitate the estimation of water requirements for your landscapes with just a few clicks.

Our presenter, Dr. Shital Poudyal, in an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at Utah State University. Specializing in water conservation and sustainable landscaping practices, he actively leads various extension projects aimed at educating individuals in the green industry about the fundamentals of water conservation. Beyond his professional pursuits, Dr. Poudyal has a passion for travel and hiking.

Designing a Fire-Wise Landscape

November 14, 2023 - 2 PM

Amy Jo Detweiler: Professor and Extension Horticulturist, Oregon State University

A well designed Firewise landscape can reduce the risk of fire damage to a property and surrounding areas. In this webinar our speaker will discuss the key elements of Firewise landscape design including suggesting Firewise landscape plants. She will focus on creating fire resistant home ignition zones and advice on proper landscaping practices to reduce the risk of fire damage.

Our Presenter, Amy Jo Detweiler, serves as a Professor and Extension Horticulturist at Oregon State University. Her role involves teaching and outreach to the community on commercial horticulture, particularly in Central Oregon's high desert environment. She collaborates with homeowners and professionals in the green industry, specializing in sustainable landscape practices. Her expertise includes water-wise gardening, fire-wise landscaping, and backyard food production.

Fixing Common Issues in Landscape Irrigation Systems to Increase Water Efficiency

October 10, 2023 - 2 PM

Shane Richards: Landscape Operations and Maintenance (LOAM) Manager for Utah State University

Simple adjustments to irrigation system components can make a big difference in irrigation efficiency. We will explore some easy tweaks that bring profound results, focusing on adjusting and maintaining the system. We will also discuss common repair techniques that increase irrigation efficiency. Plus, we will share tips and tricks about managing the irrigation clock effectively, helping to conserve water. By making these small changes, you can have a big impact on water conservation, ensuring a greener future for all.

Our presenter Shane Richards has three decades of experience working in the green industry. Serving as the Landscape Operations and Maintenance (LOAM) Manager for Utah State University, Shane oversees the daily operations and provides guidance to a remarkable team dedicated to maintaining the USU Logan campus and assisting other campuses statewide. In addition to his role at the university, Shane is also the President of the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) Utah Branch. Shane lives with his wife and five children. His enthusiasm for the green industry is matched only by his love for machines, ranging from rock crawling, racing, and dirt bikes to aerators, mowers, and chainsaws.

Flip your strip program and how to implement it: Case study from Sandy City, UT

September 12, 2023 - 2 PM

Nikki Wyman: Water Education and Public Engagement, Sandy City Public Utilities

Explore the transformative impact of the Flip Your Strip program in Sandy City, UT. By targeting non-functional turf removal to curtail water consumption, the program capitalized on partnerships with the Central Utah Water Conservancy District and updated landscaping ordinances. Launched alongside the Localscapes initiative in 2021, this program has already catalyzed over 100 completed projects, with 130 more underway within a community of 26,000 water connections. Join the presentation to uncover the journey of implementation, logistical intricacies, challenges, and insights that offer a blueprint for fostering water-efficient behaviors through community-centered action.

Our Presenter, Nikki Wyman is a native Utahn passionate about the outdoors, environmental conservation, and education. She spent 10 years teaching high school science before discovering waterwise landscaping in her Master Gardener course. Since then, she has endeavored to learn as much as possible about water efficiency in the landscape, which led to starting a new position in water education and outreach with Sandy City Public Utilities. Nikki loves hiking, biking, art, and spending time in her yard.

Water Rights in Utah and How to Legally Collect Rainwater

August 8, 2023 - 2PM

Eric Jones: Assistant State Engineer over Applications and Records for the Division of Water Rights

Most Utahans are affected by water rights on a daily basis. Few understand what they are, why we need them, and how they work. This presentation is an introduction into the world of Utah Water Rights. We will cover basic topics about how water rights are defined, adjudicated, and changed. There are many myths, rumors, and legends about the Division of Water Rights taking water rights from farmers who strive to conserve water. We will delve into some of these ideas and a little more. We will also be discussing how to legally collect rainwater.

About our presenter: Eric Jones is the Assistant State Engineer over Applications and Records for the Division of Water Rights. He has worked for the State of Utah before and after graduating from the University of Utah in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Eric enjoys outdoor recreation with his wife and four children. A life-long resident of Utah Eric has been to a lot of the State but wishes he could see every inch. His career goal has always been to be of service to the community in which he lives.

Identifying Plants for Water-Wise Landscapes: Use of Native and Low Water Use Plants in Utah

July 11, 2023 - 2PM

Lance Stott: Senior Lecturer, Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate at Utah State University

Water conservation and landscape water use is a concern for many Utahns. They exhibit a keen interest in growing water-wise plants; however, identifying which plants truly meet the water-wise criteria can be a challenging task. Frequently, references that classify plants as drought-tolerant do not sufficiently meet the requirements for Utah's landscapes. In this forthcoming presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to gain insights into water-wise plants that are particularly suitable for Utah's environment.

Our esteemed speaker, Lance Stott, serves as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate at Utah State University. With his extensive expertise in teaching landscape plant materials courses and his personal upbringing in the Intermountain West, Lance possesses a comprehensive understanding of the meaning of drought tolerance within our climate. Lance plan to offer some suggestions of drought-tolerant perennials, shrubs and trees for Utah landscapes.

Redefining Lawns: The Benefits and Sustainability of Functional Turfgrasses

June 13, 2023 - 2PM

Dr. Kelly Kopp: USU Extension Water Conservation and Turfgrass Specialist

The message is out there in a big way….we don’t need lawn everywhere! HOWEVER, functional lawn areas still perform a vital role in the urban landscape and provide many ecosystem services and benefits. Did you know, for example, that turfgrasses are incredible biofilters that keep stormwater (and soil) in place and remove polluting nutrients? Did you also know that there are low water use turfgrasses that do well in our region and have water requirements comparable to many recommended low water use plants? This month, join us as Dr. Kelly Kopp, USU Extension Water Conservation and Turfgrass Specialist, answers your lawn management and irrigation questions like; When should I start watering? How much water should I apply? Do some lawns need more water than others? She’ll also pass along other water-saving tips and resources, like having a free Water Check performed or participating in Utah’s state-wide smart controller and other rebate programs. 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.

How EPA WaterSense products are designed to save water (with a focus on irrigation)

May 9, 2023 - 2PM

Sarah LaVoy: Outdoor Program Coordinator for EPA's WaterSense Program

Residential outdoor water use across the United States accounts for nearly 8 billion gallons of water each day and nearly 50% of that is lost due to improper irrigation and management practices. Join us with EPA WaterSense to discuss how the WaterSense program can increase water efficiency in our landscapes and minimize water waste.

Our Presenter, Sarah LaVoy is the outdoor program coordinator for WaterSense. She works with the technical team on new outdoor specifications, coordinates with professional certifying organizations to certify efficiency specialists in irrigation, and develops resources to promote water efficient practices with industry and the public. She has Masters degrees in public affairs and environmental science, both focusing in water resource management from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University.

How to Design a Water Wise Landscape

April 11, 2023 - 2PM

Jake Powell: Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor, Utah State University Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning

Amid an overwhelming number of resources, guidebooks, fact sheets, and manuals detailing xeriscape and water-wise practices, a robust landscape design process provides an underlying framework that operationalizes these resources for novices and professionals alike. This presentation will introduce participants to the four steps used in Utah State University Extension’s Design 4 Every Drop, water wise landscape design curriculum and explain how engaging in the process of landscape design can elevate both the aesthetics and the functionality of water wise landscapes.

Jake’s research and Extension efforts focus on analyzing how the design of communities, infrastructure, and sites affect water quality, quantity, and conservation at both the site and watershed scale, gateway community design and planning challenges, and recreation amenity development and stewardship.

Improving garden soil to increase water-holding capacity by adding organic matter

March 14, 2023 - 2PM

Katie Wagner: Horticulture Faculty, USU Extension, Salt Lake Country

Soil organic matter functions like a sponge within the soil by retaining moisture and slowly releasing it to meet the water requirements of plants. In addition, organic matter is also key to enhancing many soil properties for good plant growth and healthy soil microbial communities. In this webinar, Katie Wagner will discuss how organic matter impacts soil water retention and other benefits organic matter provides to the soil environment.

Katie Wagner is an Extension Associate Professor at Utah State University. She is highly engaged in Extension and research activities promoting sustainable agriculture, organic gardening, invertebrate-based pest management, pollinator habitat preferences, and sustainable gardening practices. Katie strives to promote environmentally friendly gardening practices in Salt Lake County and beyond.

February 14, 2023 - 2PM

Streamflow in Utah During Extended Drought

Ryan Rowland: Supervisory Hydrologist and Data Chief for the Utah Water Science Center, USGS, Salt Lake City, UT

Utah Water Dashboard and WaterWatch are websites operated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and can be used to generate near real-time data on streamflow, lake, reservoir, precipitation and groundwater. This month’s speaker Ryan Rowland will present how streamflow has changed in the last few years in Utah.

Additionally, he will also demonstrate how those websites can be used to generate valuable water information in the context of extended drought.


November 8, 2022, 2PM

Growing Responsibly: Accommodating Population Growth Through Rebate Programs & Model Ordinances

Rick Maloy: Water Conservation Manager at Central Utah Water

Faced with unprecedented population growth and a limited future water supply, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWCD) and other state water agencies found themselves in a predicament. Work with cities to adopt and enforce Waterwise ordinances for more sustainable growth or face the grim reality of potential moratoriums and dwindling water supplies.

The CUWCD decided to adopt and offer two pilot rebate programs aimed at reducing outdoor water use in residential landscapes. Outdoor residential water use which accounts for 44% of M&I use in the state has always been a concern among water leaders. The Flip Your Strip and Localscapes Rewards programs adopted by CUWCD originated from neighboring Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District (JVWCD) which had already seen increased interest in water conservation and significant water savings from these two programs. 

By allowing homeowners to apply and participate in these programs on a pilot basis CUWCD was able to create a staggering amount of awareness for the programs and water conservation as a whole. Upon giving cities and their residents a taste of these programs and their associated incentives CUWCD emailed mayors, city planners, and city council members with the news that these incentives would be revoked in a year's time unless water efficiency standards were adopted at the city level. 

This approach has proven effective as we have seen a number of cities already adopt these Waterwise ordinances, and many others reach for additional information, city council presentations, and community events.

By nipping the problem in the bud, which was the unsustainable growth occurring without standards for outdoor water efficiency, the CUWCD, and other state water agencies we are setting up our service areas for successful sustainable growth and prolonging our limited water supply.

October 11, 2022, 2PM

Drought Years and Conservation Progress at Weber Basin Water Conservancy District

David Rice: Conservation Coordinator at Weber Basin Water Conservancy District

Weber Basin Water Conservancy District is a large regional water provider for Northern Utah. Like many parts of the country, Weber Basin has the challenge of managing a limited water supply and planning for future demand. This month we’re fortunate to have David Rice, Conservation Coordinator at Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, joining us. David will cover the drought issues, its pros and cons, the district’s drought response, and longer-term conservation efforts for a growing population and increased water demands. 

September 13, 2022, 2PM


Presenters: CWEL faculty, staff, and graduate students

Utah State University’s Center for Water Efficient Landscaping (CWEL) is excited to announce the 2022 CWEL Virtual Field Day. This event will be held on September 13th from 2-4pm. CWEL faculty, staff, and graduate students will showcase their research and projects. Topics include; water conservation in urban areas, turfgrass variety trials, irrigation water quality and use in ornamental plants, ecological benefits of landscapes, maple syrup production, and more.

Kelly Kopp: CWEL faculty, Extension Specialist, and Director
Turfgrass variety trials, including a cooperative effort with the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance, the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program as well as private companies.

Paul Harris: CWEL research technician
Performance of Kentucky bluegrass under low irrigation and varying fertilizer rates and recovery of Kentucky bluegrass from summer dormancy.

Asmita Paudel (PhD student)
Monitoring Irrigation Water Quality and Developing Best Water Management Practices for Nursery Production.

JJ Chen (PhD student)
USU Climate Ready Landscape Plant Trial.

Jesse Mathews (undergraduate researcher)
Sap yield and characteristics in Norway and Boxelder maple trees.

Saroj Burlakoti (MS Student)
Optimizing P (phosphorus) application is crucial for a sustainable nursery production system. In this research, we investigated the effect of different rates of P applications on two ground covers taxa.

Shital Poudyal: CWEL faculty and Extension Specialist
Expanding population growth and reducing snowpack level has exacerbated drought situations in the arid west, including Utah. It has compelled us to rethink the types of plants we grow and our irrigation practices.

Joanna Endter-Wada: CWEL faculty & Chris Garrard: GIS specialist
The WaterMAPS™ Team will discuss their water conservation work with Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities and how they are applying and implementing landscape water use budgets and analyses throughout the utility’s service area.


August 9, 2022, 2PM

How Low Can You Go? Understanding and Improving Turfgrass Response to Drought Conditions 

Kelly Kopp: USU Extension Turfgrass & Water Conservation Specialist

The home lawn has many environmental benefits, such as erosion control, water filtration, and temperature moderation, but advising and educating clientele to reduce water use by allowing turfgrass to enter dormancy can be challenging. This month we’re fortunate to have Dr. Kelly Kopp, USU Extension Turfgrass and Water Conservation Specialist, joining us. 

Kelly will cover cultural management practices, including pesticide use, nutrient management, irrigation, among others, that can help improve the drought tolerance and resilience of turfgrass areas. This information will be presented within the context of an integrated pest management approach and will emphasize the judicious use of inputs and the ecosystem services provided by turfgrass landscapes. 


July 12, 2022, 2PM

Water Conservation Programs in Central Utah

Rick Maloy & Zack Seipert: Central Utah Water Conservancy District

This month we have Rick Maloy and Zack Seipert with the Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWCD) sharing their new conservation programs and new marketing tactics for conservation. They will also share highlights of CUWCD’s video production process, what the response been and how’s it’s impacted their programs.Rick Maloy is the Water Conservation Manager at Central Utah Water Conservancy District who works with State and local water agencies to develop water conservation strategies and public outreach tools. Rick knows the importance of water and what needs to be done to meet the future demand as the state of Utah continues to grow, particularly regarding outdoor water use.

Zack Seipert is the Water Conservation Coordinator for Central Utah Water Conservancy District, responsible for managing the District’s online presence, overseeing the District’s marketing efforts, and aiding in the administration of water conservation programs; both commercial and residential.

June 14, 2022, 2PM

Water-Efficient Landscape Policies in Flagstaff, AZ

Emily Melhorn: Water Conservation Specialist for the City of Flagstaff Water Services

Good policies and ordinances at the municipal level is essential to implementing many conservation measures in a community. Enforcement of those policies and ordinances brings its own set of challenges, but also provides opportunity to engage with residents more deeply. City of Flagstaff has created a dynamic ordinance around landscape watering rules. For 10 years, Water Services has developed an enforcement strategy that emphasizes education, friendliness, and community buy-in to successfully decrease water usage during hot and dry summer months.

Presenter Emily Melhorn is the Water Conservation Specialist for the City of Flagstaff Water Services. She has a Masters in Sustainable Communities and a Master’s in Planning from Northern Arizona University. She believes that building partnerships with the community, sound policy for systemic issues, and developing fun and creative programming are the most effective strategies for conservation behavioral change.

April 12, 2022, 2PM

Syracuse City's 2021 Drought Response 

Robert Whiteley: Director of Public Works at Syracuse City, UT

April 2022 - How Syracuse City, UT Responded to the 2021 Drought Year Syracuse is one of many cities throughout Utah that experienced severe water reductions due to the drought. Syracuse owns and operates a secondary water system to provide irrigation for outdoor watering. This system is completely independent from other systems, it includes 50 acre-feet of water storage, pumps, filters, over 100 miles of main pipeline, and approximately 9,000 service connections. Syracuse is growing rapidly with nearly 500 new residential units each year. This presentation describes how Syracuse responded to the recent drought by initiating water restrictions, shortening the water season, provided public education, enforced water waste, and reported regularly at public meetings. "

Presenter Robert Whiteley is director of Public Works at Syracuse city, UT. He manages engineering & inspections, culinary and secondary water systems, sewer and storm drain collection systems, street maintenance with lights and signs, snowplowing, and facility maintenance. He also serves as president of Weber River Water Users Association and is a director on two other irrigation boards that serve water to Syracuse.

February 8, 2022, 2pm 

Are Smart Irrigation Controllers a Good Choice for Rebate Programs?

Michael Dukes, University of Florida

This month we're fortunate to have Michael Dukes, Director of the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences Center for Land Use Efficiency, joining us. Smart irrigation controllers have been commercially available for over 20 years but have become more popular in the last decade. Michael will briefly discuss how smart controllers work and summarize research results on their water conservation effectiveness. Considerations for their use in rebate programs will also be discussed.

December 15, 2021, 2pm

Working with Stormwater, not Against it

Heather Venhaus, Principal at Regenerative Environmental Designs, Austin Texas

Land is a crucial component of the built environment. Too often, however, projects are designed without regard to their harmful impact on scarce resources, local culture and community, and underlying ecological systems. The sustainable SITES initiative looks to nature for guidance, helping project teams in creating environments that improve water quality, control erosion, mitigate flooding and provide wildlife habitat. Last month we discussed how the SITES Rating System for Sustainable Land Design and Development elevates the value of landscapes and guides projects towards regenerative and resilient design. This month we’ll show off a few SITES locations and share examples of ways stormwater has been used to replicate natural systems. Heather Venhaus, Principal at Regenerative Environmental Designs based out of Austin Texas, will show us how the use of green infrastructure has the potential to eliminate surface water runoff and minimize localized flooding while bringing nature back into the city and increasing human connection.

November 9, 2021, 2pm

SITES Rating System for Sustainable Land Design and Development Guides Projects Towards Regenerative and Resilient Design

Paul Wessel, SITES Director of Market Development 
Angela Ardis DeRose, SITES Program Assistant

Land is a crucial component of the built environment. Too often, however, projects are designed without regard to their harmful impact on scarce resources, local culture and community, and underlying ecological systems. Fortunately, we can create high-performance landscapes that provide a variety of benefits to a community, such as conserving water, energy and materials, managing stormwater and controlling flooding, cleaning air, reducing the urban heat island, and improving human health and well-being. Sustainable landscapes can create ecologically resilient places better able to withstand and recover from episodic floods, droughts, wildfires, and other catastrophic events. These landscapes appreciate in value, unlike conventional building projects that typically depreciate in value. This month, Paul Wessel, the Director of Market Development for SITES, and Angela Ardis DeRose, will share how the SITES Rating System for Sustainable Land Design and Development elevates the value of landscapes and guides projects towards regenerative and resilient design.

October 12, 2021, 2pm

Green Roof Research and Outreach in Colorado

Jennifer Bousselot, Colorado State University

This month we have Jennifer Bousselot, Ph.D. joining us to discuss green roof research and outreach in Colorado. Jen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University and the Editor-In-Charge of the only academic journal related to green roof research in North America, the Journal of Living Architecture. She will be sharing the work that she has done with green roof plant-pollinator interactions, green roof system stormwater capture, rooftop agriculture, and the integration of solar panels on green roofs.

September 14, 2021, 2pm

Residential Water Use Across the US

Peter Mayer, WaterDM 
Joe Fazio, Flume

Join us for a fascinating look at residential water use across the US with Peter Mayer of WaterDM and Joe Fazio of Flume. Flume is collecting and analyzing water use data from tens of thousands of single-family homes across the US.

Peter and Joe will present information on water use across the US from 2019 - 2021 including the impacts of COVID-19 on water demand. The latest information from Q2 2021 including current summer water use trends will be included.

Additionally, Peter and Joe will present on:

  • Indoor and outdoor water use in the 15 most populous metro areas
  • Impacts of drought and drought restrictions on outdoor water use
  • Community-specific and national leak data
  • Updated year over year and month over month national water use trends for 2021

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.

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?

December 8, 2020

WaterMAPS™ Analysis for Conservation Programming in Salt Lake City, Utah

Dr. Joanna Endter-Wada, WaterMAPS™ Team Lead, Utah State University
Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City Deparment of Public Utilities

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, Greywater Action founding member

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 opportunity. 

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 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 Horitculturist 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 Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (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, Utah State University 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, Utah State University 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, 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, 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, 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!