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TMLAC – Houston Friday morning “Got Water? Dealing with drought conditions in Parks Design and Maintenance”

January 1, 2012

8:30 – 9:45 I attended the TMPRTA (Texas Municipal Parks, Recreation and Tourism Association) presentation called Got Water? Dealing with drought conditions in Parks Design and Maintenance.

This was a really interesting talk. The guy doing the presentation was a Landscape Architect (as is my wife). He gave some examples of how changing plants in parks had radically reduced the maintenance time and the amount of water used by the parks. He failed to mention the time or money or labor required to achieve these savings or what the ROI on these changes was, so I was a little disappointed with the talks from that point of view.

He had much to say about urban water consumption for irrigation and how unwise it was for cities to allow wholesale irrigation just for a green lawn. He talked about one city that had implemented a two meter solution where the actual home was on one meter and charged the basic rate. The second meter covered stuff like pool filling, irrigation and other “optional” uses. He said the rate on that meter was 5x higher than the normal one.

Such a system could only work in a city with lots of new home construction. Otherwise, there is no way that such a system could be retrofitted in a place like Watauga which already has every house it’s likely to ever get.

The water supply issues were very interesting. He actually used the word Xeriscape which I thought was cool. I don’t hear it out here much, but it’s a wonderful concept. I think the lady down the street from us in Watauga has redone her yard using Xeriscape principles and it looks very nice. I’ve been very impressed with it. It did take her a lot of work and time and I’m sure money to get it that way. I’ve complimented her on it as often as I’ve seen her.

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