A recent Green Industry article talked about an Obama executive order. The article sent ripples of panic throughout the landscape irrigation industry.

waterWhile the gist of the article was correct, there are some facts missing. The article states the federal government was mandating that landscape irrigation systems would soon be barred from using any “fresh” water sources. Fresh water being defined as any water source that could be easily turned into drinking water. That includes purveyor supplied drinking water, lakes, streams, rivers, and wells. Are you worried yet?

Although some of the hyper-environmental types within our current administration would love to have such a ruling, it is not reasonable. Because we live in a democratic republic, the desires of the few environmentalists will not control the decision. Simple fact is, any presidential executive order can only affect federal properties and agencies. And, the next president can get rid of a previous president’s orders.

Federal Policies

The Obama executive order states water conserving goals in a broad sense. From there governmental councils and bureaus have formed to outline the actual policy and standards. Your Irrigation Association is working with those agencies.

Policies are still in the works. Indications are that the policy will mandate that all federally owned properties must meet the official LEED standards within 10 years. This is a resonable decision.

In relation, the EPA WaterSense program is targeting a 20% reduction in landscape irrigation water usage. This is a most doable proposition and one that can fit within the LEED standards.

What is regulated for federal properties often leaks onto state owned properties and eventually out into the private sector. What the federal government is doing will impact us all eventually. But, that impact is not so bad and will take a few years.

So, we have a tightening of fresh water usage. In addition, we have an irrigation industry that has done a fantastic job bringing us water conserving products and practices. Panicking is not needed. However, I would look at the opportunity in the situation.

Irrigation ControllerOur Part in the Change

We can do what the federal government is trying to accomplish. The cost is minimal. And, we have an excellent business opportunity. What has to change are the decades of old practices among us out here at street level. It’s not a difficult change to make and it actually helps our irrigation industry be perceived as more technical. So, what should you learn or do?

  • Use pressure regulating sprinklers
  • Use more low volume (drip) irrigation
  • Install higher DU systems.
  • Implement SMART controllers
  • Learn about water harvesting and reuse

The product is on our shelves now and the cost isn’t much more. Use the fact that July is Smart Irrigation Month, to start the process. Spearheaded by the Irrigation Association many years ago, smart irrigation has entered the mainstream. The only reason people will get hurt by this shift is if they do not learn and change to meet the new market demands.

In reality, this is a great opportunity for renovation work. Even today, your customers are already becoming water conservation aware. More and more they will understand and demand a water conserving irrigation system. Learn how to give it to them. And don’t panic!

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