Landscape water conservation research is one component of the federally funded Drought Management Project that has been in place at USU since 2004. The project has supported numerous graduate students working on diverse landscape water conservation projects and these projects have direct application to pressing water conservation needs existing in the region today. Several projects have been conducted at the Utah Botanical Center (UBC) in Kaysville, Utah. Large-scale drainage lysimeters at the UBC have been planted with turfgrasses and other ornamental plants and are monitored for volume of water applied as irrigation as well as volume and quality of water leached. Plant water use research has included an evaluation of the stomatal conductance of different plant materials in the lysimeters under drought conditions. Preference surveys of the lysimeters have also been conducted to assess public opinion under both well watered and drought conditions. An additional research project has assessed the response of soil moisture to drought under the different plant materials. Ongoing research at the UBC supported by the Drought Management Project will include the evaluation of fertilization on stomatal conductance and quality of plants under drought conditions and the application of findings regarding landscape water quality to the community level. A separate area of landscape water conservation that has been investigated with the support of the Drought Management Project is the effectiveness of irrigation system audits for reducing outdoor water use. Such efforts have been ongoing in Utah since 1999 and a detailed analysis of water billing data has shown that water savings have resulted from the program. The Drought Management Project continues to support graduate students and projects that have increased landscape water conservation in Utah and the region.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kelly_kopp/48/