Rain Bird named the finalists for its 2008 Intelligent Use of Water Award, which recognizes persons or organizations whose innovation, leadership, ingenuity and overall commitment to improved landscape water efficiency has raised the standard for outdoor water conservation. The five finalists were selected by a panel of judges according to pre-determined criteria, including demonstrated water savings, preservation of landscapes, innovation and overall impact on the community.
The five finalists for the 2008 Intelligent Use of Water Award are:
Christopher S. Gray, Sr. – Benton, KY
Christopher has spent his entire career in golf course management creating and implementing innovative and effective golf course environmental stewardship programs. As General Manager/Director of Golf Course Operations at Marvel Golf Club in Benton, Kentucky, Christopher has been extremely proactive in water conservation programs on and off the golf course.
Christopher has developed and implemented a very unique wastewater conservation program in which all rainwater and household wastewater generated from the homes surrounding the golf course is captured, treated and pumped into the course’s irrigation retention ponds. Providing over 14 million gallons of reclaimed water each year, once the Marvel Estates subdivision is completed, the innovative program has eliminated the need to pull water from the local water district or nearby Kentucky Lake for irrigation purposes.
David Salman – Santa Fe, NM
As the president and chief horticulturist of the retail nursery, Santa Fe Greenhouses, and its mail-order counterpart, High Country Gardens, David has spent the better part of 20-plus years in pursuit of beautiful and drought-tolerant plants for western landscapes. Regarded as one of Xeriscaping’s pioneers, he is dedicated to perfecting the growing methods for a wide variety of new and unusual waterwise perennials, grasses and shrubs. His work has resulted in the introduction of 24 new waterwise ornamental perennial plants that are now some of the region’s most widely used Xeric perennials. A national speaker and published author on the topic of waterwise Gardening and Xeriscaping, Salman is committed to demonstrating the beauty of waterwise gardens by maintaining and expanding Xeric display gardens at Santa Fe Greenhouses. In 2000, Santa Fe Greenhouses constructed a 39,000 gallon water collection cistern and reuse system, enabling the collection of rainwater from 55,000 square feet of greenhouse roof area to be used for irrigation of the facility’s perennial and annual plant collections. The system captures over an acre-foot of water in an average year, reducing the use of City water by about 25 percent.
Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association (GGCSA) – Atlanta, GA
As Georgia’s water resources came under increased scrutiny in 2002, the GGCSA took a leadership role and began working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to develop a program that would achieve the goal of sustainable resource conservation. To demonstrate its commitment to keeping the Georgia golf industry healthy, while maintaining its status as an efficient user of water, the GGCSA challenged its members to create a set of best management practices (BMP). The groundbreaking effort was the first of its kind for the Georgia agriculture and green industry, and provided a road map for the area’s golf facilities to provide enjoyable playing conditions, while using water in the most efficient manner.
Combining the use of efficient irrigation systems, irrigation audits, new grass varieties, communication and products such as wetting agents and plant growth regulators, and abstaining from over seeding, the GGCSA was able to document the conservation efforts of Georgia’s golf superintendents and promote the BMP program as a potential water conservation tool for all types of water users.
The Council on the Environment of NYC (CENYC) – New York, NY
As a hands-on nonprofit that is committed to increasing environmental awareness among New Yorkers and developing practical solutions to environmental problems, the CENYC develops and implements environmental education programs and initiatives that promote waste prevention and encourage the recycling of Earth’s natural resources. CENYC has worked with over 30 community garden groups in diverse neighborhoods throughout the New York City area to construct rainwater-harvesting (RWH) systems using simple piping and barrels to collect water from adjacent rooftops or garden structures. Each year, these systems divert more than 500,000 gallons of rainwater onto local gardens that would otherwise be lost or result in polluted water due to overloaded storm drains. CENYC runs workshops educating the public on RWH systems and other alternative water resources and teaches gardeners looking how to build their own RWH systems. The Council also offers environmental education programs that teach children how to get in touch with officials about fixing broken fire hydrants, show them how to monitor environmental conditions at their schools and in their neighborhoods, and organize plantings near local water sources including the Bronx River and the Delaware Watershed.
Glendale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden – Glendale, AZ
Established in 1992, the Glendale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden is a four-acre living laboratory that showcases low-water-use plants and educates the community on the benefits of water efficient gardening. Set on the grounds of the historic Glendale public library, the garden is a highly regarded resource that educates the public on developing water-efficient landscapes. The garden’s themed demonstration areas educate homeowners on the diversity and beauty of Xeriscape through displays of native plantings and proper drip irrigation watering techniques, as well as interpretive signage and audio tours that provide information about specific plants and landscape design techniques. The recently installed habitat gardens are certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a “Backyard Wildlife Habitat” and demonstrate rainwater-harvesting techniques. Over 15 free water-efficient landscape classes are offered every year to the public, and the garden implements several water education programs for children. The garden’s role in motivating the public to take advantage of the city’s landscape rebate program is evident as the number of gallons used per day by Glendale residents has decreased by more than fourteen percent since the garden first opened in 1992 and local residents have converted more than 215,000 square feet of turf to Xeriscape, saving an estimated water savings of more than 5 million gallons of water a year.
The recipient of the 2008 Intelligent Use of Water Award will be announced on October 11, 2008 at the Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition where they will be presented with $10,000 in acknowledgment of their contributions toward protecting Earth’s most precious resource.
The winner will be chosen by an esteemed panel of experts that includes:Elizabeth Cutright, editor, Water Efficiency magazine; Dan Stark, executive director of the American Public Gardens Association; Ron Stoltz, director of the School of Landscape Architecture at The University of Arizona; and Marty Eberhardt, executive director of The Water Conservation Garden, winner of the 2007 Intelligent Use of Water Award.