Elizabeth, Brent and John are joined by Dr. Kelly Kopp
[00:53] Welcome Dr. Kelly Kopp of Utah State University - We are happy to include our first featured guest in this special episode of Bringing Water to Life. Dr. Kopp joins us from the Department of Plants, Soils and Climate. Her expertise in water conservation is a perfect complement to this podcast. See more about Dr. Kopp here.
[1:21] WaterSmart Innovations - This episode was recorded from the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.
For 9 years now, WSI has brought together water professionals from around the globe to share their expertise and experiences in urban water efficiency.
[3:29] Kelly also serves as the current chair of the Alliance for Water Efficiency - During her 9-year tenure on the AWE board, she has filled the role of academic chair and was one of the few members focused on outdoor water use.
AWE is an international nonprofit focused on water efficiency.
In recent years, there has been greater focus on outdoor water use.
[5:41] What do we see as the most pressing issue facing the availability of water? - Depends on where in the country you are. In the West, the Colorado River is driving everything.
Persistent and recurring drought + growing populations + issues of over allocation with the Colorado River.
Working to end uncertainty - the goal of predicting what will happen with water availability.
Water laws that may not match with needed innovations and inventions (e.g. the reuse of water).
Infrastructure! - We have 21st century technologies on a 19th century infrastructure.
[8:17] - In the West, we have an infrastructure built around snowpack but because of climate variability there is a transition to precipitation in the form of rain. We don't have the infrastructure to capture and convey water in this form
[9:17] Overview of some WSI sessions
Smart technologies - can't just rely on the name smart. Need to make sure the technologies do what they say and that people know how to use them.
The reality of drought vs. the media coverage of El Nino in 2016 and how this affected consumers.
[11:49] Our reactions to the amount of money spent on turfgrass removal. Challenges faced by water purveyors to spend the money provided by the state for these programs.
Kelly's work focuses a lot on turfgrass and turfgrass water uses.
Knee-jerk reaction as mandated by the state even though turfgrass does not always mean immediate water savings. The money could have been much better spent in other ways.
[16:00] Water savings could have occurred by focusing on inefficient irrigation technologies. There is potential to save water in the landscape - Keep your landscape as it is but do what you're doing more efficiently.
Kelly gets on her soapbox - Misconception that just because we remove turf we are going to be saving water.
[16:46] A deeper discussion on turfgrass - Kelly is working with experimental varieties of bluegrass now that are going 1.5 months without irrigation and maintaining color.
Why should a plant like that removed as a choice when it is just as good as some of these low water-use groundcovers and it provides environmental benefits.
Turfgrass offers summer dormancy and people were forced to planting plants that demand water. The establishment phase of an new landscape can take more water.