Water Conservation at the Arboretum
Our Water Conservation Programs
The Arboretum embraces the current drought emergency as an important opportunity to take water savings to a new level. Current efforts to dramatically reduce our overall water budget include new high efficiency irrigation systems, further reduction of turf area, and demonstrations of new and old water conserving strategies. Overall, we are committed to a reduction goal of 36%. We will do so through diligent management of our water resources and continued infrastructural improvements. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring that our irreplaceable gardens and plant collections are preserved to fulfill our vital mission as a regional education center and historic site. We have taken the following steps to conserve water:
We have invested nearly $1 million to upgrade Arboretum irrigation systems. These upgrades have increased efficiencies for roughly 25% of our total acreage, yielding significant water savings. As funding is secured, the entire Arboretum will be upgraded with new irrigation technologies.
Lawn reduction continues with four acres eliminated over the past decade. Additional turf will be removed this summer.
· Plant Collections
Priorities for botanical acquisitions and development are focusing heavily on the Mediterranean climate regions of the world, which will include California friendly plant material from South Africa, Western Australia, Chile, and the Mediterranean Basin. We recently obtained a shipment of seed from South Africa that has over 200 different climate-adapted species, many of which are new to our collections. Note that many of the Arboretum’s botanical collections are already drought tolerant. For instance, the Australian section is irrigated four to five times per year. Our focus on desert floras continues to grow. We hope you’ll visit the Arboretum’s Madagascar Spiny Forest display.
·Crescent Farm, a New Water Conservation Landscape
The new Crescent Farm project, comprising over 33,000 sq. ft., will present an array of water saving strategies for home and community landscapes
· Water Features
New filtration systems have been acquired to more efficiently clear our water features. Also, the main fountains now run on a reduced schedule This system will be operational by July 1, allowing us to better conserve water during the fountain cleaning.
· Alternative Watering Systems
The Garden For All Seasons, a sustainable garden featuring a diverse array of edible fruits and vegetables, relies solely on drip irrigation and occasional hand watering (as needed) to aid in establishing the edible trees and shrubs.
· Watering Schedules
Watering schedules for the entire landscape are being evaluated and adjusted to maximize water savings.