Enhancing urban living through horticulture OUR MISSION
RELATIONSHIPS Where do we fit in? s Public IndustryAcademia Gardening Public Public schools Gardening clubs Master Gardeners Professionals Trade organizations Regulatory agencies Municipalities UC, UCCE USDA ARS, NIFA Other campuses
Outline I.Overview of legislative actions II.Water facts and residential study example III.WUCOLS review and update…since last year IV.Research-based alternative to WUCOLS
Water Conservation Act of 2009 (SBX7-7) Requires all water suppliers to increase water use efficiency Urban Water Conservation The legislation sets an overall goal of reducing per capita urban water use by 20% by December 31, 2020. The state shall make incremental progress towards this goal by Reducing per capita water use by at least 10% by December 31, 2015. Water Use Facts Californias cities and suburbs used approximately 9.3 million acre-feet (maf) of water in 2005 Residential uses 67% or 6.2 maf of this water Outdoor use is approximately 42% (higher inland or desert) or 2.6 maf of this 6.2 maf Average baseline use in CA is 198 gpcd (from 1995 – 2010; DWR figure) Therefore, a 20% reduction by year 2020 would = 158 gpcd
Tracked water use in 700 homes across 10 California water districts Found that average excess landscape water use was roughly 26Kgal per home With 8 million SFH in the state, excess water use represents 600,000 ac-ft or roughly 15 gpcd 15% of the homes produced 62% of the excess water use SFR home study showed that a significant percentage of homeowners irrigating less than predicted budget. 41% in smart controller install program had water use increase Single Family Residential (SFR) Study Sponsored by: The Department of Water Resources Managed by: The Irvine Ranch Water District
Californias Next Million Acre-Feet: Saving Water, Energy and Money by Cooley, Christian-Smith, Gleick, Cohen and Heberger, September 2010 (Pacific Institute) San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Ventura, Fresno, and Sacramento.
Water Use Classification of Ornamental Landscape Species…Plant List Initiative Review and Update
WUCOLS Key Points 1.WUCOLS is a guide to plant water needs and is not a method for estimating landscape water needs. 2.WUCOLS evaluations were made by leading horticulturists representing 6 different climatic regions in California. 3.Plant water use designation was based on the collective field experience and observations of evaluators. Although limited, available field research was included as well. 4.Plant water use assignments were made by consensus agreement of the evaluators. If a committee did not know a plant, it was not evaluated. If the plant was not appropriate for a region, it was so noted.
WUCOLS Key Points (cont.) 5.WUCOLS includes a list of 2,072 species/cultivars. However, there are over 400 species are ready to be added. There has been no challenges to the evaluations and few suggested additions. Less than 2% of species have been evaluated through field research. 6.WUCOLS evaluations have been adopted for use in many sectors (e.g., academic, professionals, municipalities and water agencies) 7.WUCOLS evaluations serve as an important guide in the selection of species for hydrozones. 8.The WUCOLS list is intended to be dynamic, not static and new species can be added. 9.WUCOLS is not perfect, but it serves to meet a critical need.
Current Situation All local agencies (cities, counties, charter cities and charter counties) have until January 1, 2010 to adopt DWRs updated MWELO (Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance) or their own local water efficient landscape ordinance. MWELO states that the plant factors shall be from WUCOLS for calculating water budgets WUCOLS includes a list of 2,072 species/cultivars. However, there are over 1700+ species in queue ready to be reviewed.
Current Situation The current WUCOLS III document is over 12+ years old. Landscape architects & designers, contractors, city planners, retailers, irrigation consultants and wholesale nursery growers are limited to the number of plants that can be utilized to comply with the water budget calculation of MWELO. There is a backlog of water conserving plants that cannot or will not be used in landscape designs…these plants will not be specified.
Review and Update In most recent conversations with DWR, they would consider partially funding a review and update of WUCOLS through a public service contract currently managed by Dr. Loren Oki and Janet Hartin, UC Cooperative Extension and Dr. Dave Fujino, UC Davis. COMPLETED DWR funds would be used for the review process, creation, and dissemination of an updated WUCOLS document, but the contract will not support employment of a horticultural consultant(s) needed for the review process. COMPLETED Therefore, outside stakeholder support is needed and money procured would support the consultant(s) to facilitate and manage the review process and to leverage DWR funding. COMPLETED
Review and Update DWR money re-allocated to support review process Project duration estimated to be 12 months Any surplus stakeholder money would be applied to remaining proposed objectives as prioritized by advisory committee Sufficient sponsorship money has been collected to fund consultants The CCUH has designated an advisory committee from stakeholders providing monetary support. Convene six, regional meetings with UC academics and environmental horticulture professionals to review and update WUCOLS species evaluations
WUCOLS Sponsors Regional Water Authority (Northern California) American Society of Landscape Architects (CCASLA) Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) American Society of Irrigation Consultants (ASIC; north and south) Cagwin & Dorward (N. Calif. landscape construction & maintenance) California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC) California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA State) California Landscape Contractors Association (San Diego Chapter) San Diego County Water Authority Water Forum Glenn Schmidt Landscaping, Inc. Department of Water Resources, Water Use Efficiency
Year-to-Date Activities Consultants, Larry Costello and Katherine Jones, hired to organize and convene regional meetings with UC academics and environmental horticulture professionals to review and update WUCOLS species evaluations Six Regions: North Coastal Central Valley South Coastal South Inland High/Low Desert Scan of CA wholesale nursery grower catalogs identified 1700+ new species versus 400, originally estimated Volunteers for all regional meeting teams identified and secured (plant knowledge, experience, representation)
Year-to-Date Activities Five Regional Meetings Scheduled: South Inland – October 24 and 25 complete Central Valley – November 7; second meeting on December 7 complete High/Low Desert – November 13 and 14 complete South Coastal – November 27 and 28 complete South Coastal (San Diego) – January 23
Selection Criteria Professional diversity (disciplines including nursery professionals, landscape contractors, landscape architects & designers, botanical garden/arboreta staff members, consultants, and academics) Must have is that we select only the very best "plants people" --- this is crucial to the success of this work Availability to meet in person (flexible) Team size = 6 – 7 reviewers
WUCOLS Regions North Central Central Valley South Inland
South Coastal South Coastal (San Diego) High/Low Desert WUCOLS Regions
Future Opporunities Develop training guide How to Use WUCOLS that will educate users on how to sort WUCOLS list by plant type, climatic region, and water use category. Establish a WUCOLS website to allow quick access for users and provide supportive information on regular basis. Develop a process where the WUCOLS list can be updated on an ongoing basis and on a timely basis. Develop and provide a scientific protocol for conducting plant water use trials on WUCOLS website. Develop and provide a user guide for submitting a MWELO application to city planning departments
Future - Development of a National Standard for determining Water Needs of Urban Landscapes Organized by American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers (ASABE) ASABE X623 Landscape Water Availability Standard – kick-off webinar held March 21 Dr. Michael Dukes, University of Florida, is the Project Lead; Discussions included: The development of a standardized method to assess landscape water needs Use of a water budget as a model or conservation tool Need to match actual use with predictive models Need to define "water budget" Design and development of a standardized science-based procedure for estimating water needs for non-turf landscapes Dennis Pittenger, UCCE area environmental horticulturist for S. California, and David Shaw, UCCE farm advisor in San Diego Co. to serve on ASABE expert panel X623 committee met in November; next meeting schedule for February http://www.asabe.org/standards/x623-project-update.aspx