Texas A&M AgriLife Urban Water Program team invited ‘down under’ to share successes

Dallas team will present at International Horticulture Congress 2014 in Brisbane

DALLAS – A team of urban water experts from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas has been asked to share their successes in conserving and protecting urban water resources at the International Horticulture Congress 2014 from Aug. 17-22 in Brisbane, Australia.

The International Horticulture Congress is touted as the world’s premier horticulture event. This year’s event, themed “Horticulture – sustaining lives, livelihoods and landscapes,” will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Queensland.

According to the congress’ website, this year’s event is expected to draw more than 2,000 attendees from throughout the world.

“We were invited to make a presentation about our Texas A&M AgriLife WaterSense Labeled Home, as well as present posters at the congress relating to two other center activities concerning water conservation,” said Clint Wolfe, urban water program manager at the center.

As urban water program manager, Wolfe facilitates the activities of a team of water resource professionals at the center to assist with research and outreach programming in the areas of water quality and conservation, as well as watershed planning.

Dotty Woodson, left,  next to the rainwater harvesting tank at the Texas A&M AgriLife WaterSense Labeled Home. Woodson is one of the team presenting at the  horticulture congress in Brisbane. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Paul Schattenberg)

Dotty Woodson, left, near the rainwater harvesting tank at the Texas A&M AgriLife WaterSense Labeled Home. Woodson is one of the team presenting at the International Horticulture Congress Aug. 17-22 in Brisbane. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Paul Schattenberg)

“Clint, Patrick Dickinson, urban water program coordinator, and I will present a program about the WaterSense retrofitted home the team created on the Dallas center’s campus,” said Dotty Woodson, AgriLife Extension water resource program specialist. “Patrick Dickinson drew the landscape plan and coordinated this project with Karen Sanders, our team’s program assistant. The poster presentations will address our Master Gardener specialist training for irrigation and efforts with Earth-Kind landscaping.”

Woodson explained that the Master Gardener program is a volunteer horticultural program of AgriLife Extension and that the Earth-Kind program uses research-proven traditional and organic techniques to “provide maximum garden and landscape enjoyment while preserving and protecting the environment.”

“One of the main successes at the center has been the WaterSense home, which is located on center grounds and was completed in March of last year in partnership with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 and the City of Dallas Water Utilities,” Wolfe said.

“WaterSense is an EPA designation for homes employing water-saving technologies and practices and choosing WaterSense products for the interior and exterior. We have tours of the facility during which the public is invited to come to the center and walk through the WaterSense home, as well as the multi-family dwelling next to it, which has the same water-saving features.”

A tour of the EPA WaterSense labeled home on the center's grounds was one of the water efficiency-oriented activities offered at the expo. (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo)

The public can tour the WaterSense home on center grounds. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

The WaterSense Labeled Home received a 2013 Texas Rain Catcher Award from the Texas Water Development Board, which recognized the urban water team for “excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas through promoting technology and educating the public.”

Additionally, the urban water team was a finalist for for  2014 Governor’s Texas Environmental Excellence Award in the water conservation division for their “Saving from a Rainy Day” rain barrel program.

Wolfe said they are happy for the opportunity to share center research and educational outreach about ongoing programs and technology with attendees at this year’s international congress.

He said the center’s urban water program activities include garden and landscape water efficiency, resource-efficient landscapes, irrigation system design and management, rainwater harvesting,  protecting urban water sources from erosion and sedimentation, promoting responsible chemical use in urban landscapes, and the use and management of alternate — reclaimed, recycled or poor quality — water sources for urban landscape irrigation.

Wolfe said last year the urban water program reached an estimated 50,000 people from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and surrounding areas through a variety of educational and informational events, including classes, professional trainings, youth events, do-it-yourself rain barrel workshops and WaterSense Labeled Home tours.

For more information on the urban water program at the Dallas center, go to https://dallas.tamu.edu/hot-topics/water/urban-water-program/ .

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