Local commercial plant grower, Altman Plants, Inc., continues to see significant water savings resulting from an innovative on-site water-recycling program. Despite the state’s drought conditions, Altman Plants has developed a program to save water while still maintaining their ability to irrigate their plants. In an industry reliant on water, the plant grower is utilizing resources to capture irrigation runoff for reuse on the plants and lower their water use. This month, Altman celebrated more than 180 million gallons of water saved since the reuse program began operation.
Less than two years ago, Altman Plants secured grant funding from Western Municipal Water District and The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to implement a water-reuse system to water the nursery’s 200 acres of plants. The project includes a water recycling program with the ability to capture nursery irrigation runoff in lined ditches and reservoirs. The water is then stored and reused to water the nursery’s plants.
“The partnership between Altman Plants, Western and Metropolitan is evidence that the rebate programs can result in substantial water savings. Programs, such as this one, can be used as examples that demonstrate innovation in a time when water resources are scarce,” shared Tim Barr, Western’s director of water resources. “Additionally, many of the plants sold by the nursery are drought tolerant. Our customers purchase the plants and use them to replace water-thirsty landscaping. The project comes back full circle.”
As one of Western’s larger water volume business customers, Altman Plants reuses approximately 360 acre-feet of water, which is equivalent to more than 117 million gallons in annual potable water savings. The associated water savings actually exceeds the project’s goal by 5.5 percent.
“As a company, Altman Plants has always taken an interest in water savings. We realize that we can’t create more water¾in the future there will be less of it¾ and the cost continues to increase,” says Jim Hessler, Altman Plants’ director of west coast operations. “We understood the reality of limited water resources years ago. Five years earlier, prior to starting the water recycling program, we had already cut our water use in half. Our current water reuse system, takes a unique approach to water management and is being used as part of a national study to create best management practices for growers.”
Creative water efficiency projects that expand local sources are less expensive for Western than funding a new source of water. Western has a diverse menu of customer programs, including free landscape efficiency evaluations; free high-efficiency urinal flush valve replacements for commercial customers; and other rebates for various water-saving appliances.