Model Efficient Irrigation and Landscape Design Standards

Water Conservation

The District’s drinking water source is drawn from the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie (SVRP) Aquifer, a sole source aquifer that stretches from Lake Pend Oreille in North Idaho, to west of the City of Spokane. This resource is not unlimited and must be protected from contamination and overuse by us all.

Landscape irrigation is the single largest use of potable water in the U.S. During summer months, outdoor water use creates peak demand on water supplies and system capacity. Water purveyors must increase supply to meet irrigation needs, sometimes as much as 3 to 4 times the amount used for domestic purposes during the winter. As much as 50% of water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, and overwatering caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.

One way to combat water shortages is to enact water efficient irrigation and landscape requirements for new and rehabilitated landscape projects. Due to ever-increasing demands on our limited water resources and inefficient uses of water, there is a need for regional irrigation efficiency and design standards. For that purpose, the Idaho/Washington Aquifer Collaborative (IWAC) developed regional Model Efficient Irrigation and Landscape Design Standards.

IWACThe purpose of this guide is to provide local jurisdictions, agencies, and water purveyors with an understanding of the importance of designing, installing, and maintaining landscapes with water efficiency in mind. Most jurisdictions do not have strong provisions for water efficiency within their development codes. Also, the landscape irrigation industry lacks national or international standards for construction and operation. This guide provides the recommended elements that an ordinance or design standard should include, to ensure landscapes are designed with water efficiency in mind.

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