Get Smart – Water Smart
July is here, and you know what that means – it’s Smart Irrigation Month! For those of you who don’t know, Smart Irrigation Month (www.smartirrigationmonth.org) is an Irrigation Association initiative created to increase public awareness of the importance of efficient water use. The initiative, which began in 2005, is held in July because it is usually the month of peak water demand in North America. The Irrigation Association offers a variety of useful suggestions for homeowners and landscapers trying to cut down on water usage, but sports field managers face a special set of challenges due to field use demands and safety concerns. You must create a delicate balance between using as little water as possible while still maintaining playability and preventing potentially dangerous conditions. One key to efficient water usage on sports fields is a properly functioning irrigation system. Bent risers, leaky pipes and faulty timers can be responsible for huge water waste – and unhealthy fields. Regular monitoring and repair can go a long way toward reducing your water consumption; see page 8 of this issue for advice on solving irrigation issues.
Of course, climate and region also play a huge role in your water usage. Even the most high-tech, properly functioning irrigation system available may be no match for a long-running drought and mandatory water restrictions, and depending on where you’re located, your water conserving skills may be put to the test this summer. According to a long-range assessment by the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, drought conditions are expected to persist or expand in hard-hit areas across the Great Basin and central Rockies throughout the summer. Drought persistence is also expected in north-central Georgia, middle Tennessee and the upstate of South Carolina. However, communities in Florida and the coastal Southeast that have been affected by drought can expect improvement throughout the summer. The mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. should be spared from any extensive drought conditions.
But, let’s remember, it’s mid-June as I write this, so we’ll have to wait and see how these predictions pan out. Drought or not, conserving our planet’s most precious resource always makes sense.
Next month’s issue will feature our annual Buyer’s Guide, your one-stop source for all of the industry’s top manufacturers and the gear you need to keep your fields perfectly playable. This comprehensive and user-friendly guide is a resource you’ll want to keep on your desk year-round.