Best management practices for urban water use consist of those urban water conservation measures that generally meet one of two criteria: (1) Constitutes an established and generally accepted practice among water purveyors that proves for the more efficient use of existing water supplies or contributes towards the conservation of water; or (2) Practices which provide sufficient data to clearly indicate their value, are technically and economically reasonable, are environmentally and socially acceptable, are reasonably capable of being implement by water purveyors and users, and for which significant conservation or conservation-related benefits can be achieved. Some of the most significant of these include:
Interior and exterior water evaluations and incentive programs for single family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, industrial, and government and institutional users
Include rate structures and other incentives and penalties to discourage frivolous water use and encourage water conservation
Landscape water conservation requirements for new and existing commercial, industrial, institutional, government, and multi-family residential development projects
Water supplier billing records broken down by customer class (Residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc.)
Commercial billing records broken down by industry classification (Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes)
Increased revenues from tiered pricing should be used to develop additional water supplies and to promote water conservation
Water meters, preferably dedicated meters, are necessary to monitor water consumption. Metering of landscape areas versus non-landscape areas with commodity rates for all new connections and retrofit of existing connections
Interior plumbing be upgraded/retrofitted to current industry standards
Distribution system water audits, leak detection, and repair
Efficiency standards for water using irrigation devices
Replacement of existing water using irrigation devises
Distribution system pressure regulation
Efficiency standards and use review for new industrial and commercial processes
Large landscape water audits and incentives
Public information and awareness programs
Water education programs for teachers and schools
Commercial and industrial water conservation programs
Landscape water conservation programs for new and existing single family homes
Water waste prohibition, enforcement, and fines
Water conservation coordinator
Encourage trained and knowledgeable employees by offering certification in all areas of landscape management.
Promote consumer education through seminars and school training models of the best practices on landscapes.
Offer promotional materials at trade shows to encourage proper planting, proper care and water practices that enhance landscapes.
Work in cooperation with other entities in the community to encourage Best Management Practices.
Expect excellence of best landscape practices with all firms that are members in good standing with the Nevada Landscape Association.
Reward firms that promote best practices in maintenance, installation, and vendors and the NLA’s annual banquet.
The key to landscape water conservation is efficient irrigation management. Remember that plants do not save water, people do.
The NLA vigorously opposes the development of water ordinances that set arbitrary limits on turfgrass or limit landscapes to certain plants. Individuals must retain the right to decide for themselves how to conserve water, since there are many different methods of water management.
Landscape plants have an environmental impact and ecological value, including the production of the oxygen we breathe, the removal of many air-borne pollutants, and psychological and aesthetic benefits.
Continued research and development on efficient irrigation management are imperative to augment the wide array of technologies and practices that have been developed and proven by the landscaping industry. This evolution process must be allowed to continue.
The water audit, a crucial irrigation practice that produces detailed information about actual system performance in the field, recommendations, and, where certified water auditors should perform applicable, cost benefit analysis, on all irrigation systems.
There is a tremendous need for more information and educational programs on efficient landscape irrigation practices. The NLA is committed to investing in training opportunities for landscape professionals in the area of water efficiency and appropriate landscaping.
Incentives are necessary to reduce landscape water use. These include water rebates for retrofitting irrigation systems.
Emphasis is needed on the use of reclaimed water as an alternative long-term source for landscape irrigation. Long-term consequences to plant materials and soil must be taken into account.
The water requirements of plants vary. Water conservation ordinances should give specific attention to the proper grouping of plants with similar water requirements. This is essential to improving irrigation efficiency through the establishment of hydrozones. Flexibility is essential, since many plants vary in availability as well as adaptability to different climates. Plant lists are helpful in identifying similar plants and should serve as guidelines, not requirements.
More research is needed on minimum irrigation requirements of ornamental plants so that guidelines can be established for landscape water needs (i.e. the WUCOLS Report).
Turfgrass is an important component in the landscape environment that should be irrigated separately and designed for maximum irrigation efficiency.
The NLA promotes the seven basic principles of xeriscaping.
Licensed landscape contractors with significant expertise in water management should be hired to install water-efficient landscapes. These professional contractors or landscape architects should be utilized when designing water efficient landscapes and establishing a total water management plan.