April is Water Awareness Month, so there’s no better time than March to start focusing on saving water in the midst of what likely will be the fourth consecutive below-normal winter runoff season.
On Saturday, Salt River Project will host its seventh annual Water Conservation Expo at the SRP PERA Club in Tempe. The colorful Saturday half-day event, recognized by SRP water and power customers and exhibitors as one of the Valley’s best water-themed venues, usually attracts 500 to 1,000 people who come ready to learn about how to save water as well as the intricacies of “smart” irrigation controllers and water-saving shower heads.
At last year’s Water Conservation Expo, participants purchased about 530 discounted “smart” irrigation controllers for their yards, with help from free classes on the benefits of “smart” irrigation controllers to xeriscape (low-water-use landscaping). The WaterSense-labeled controller uses weather data to manage outdoor watering schedules more effectively and can deliver water savings of up to 25 percent – a significant savings considering landscape watering can account for up to 70 percent of a household’s water use.
Booths featuring SRP energy-efficiency and environmental programs will also be featured along with other water-saving products and services. Representatives from Valley municipalities, Central Arizona Project, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association and the Water-Use it Wisely campaign will be on hand to provide residents with local knowledge. SRP will offer several interactive displays and exhibits, including one about the Don’t Move a Mussel campaign to keep invasive quagga mussels out of the reservoirs on the Salt and Verde rivers and SRP’s canals.
This year’s Water Expo has already closed its signups. The first 800 SRP customers are eligible to purchase a “smart” irrigation controller for $50 plus tax and save as much as $240 on the retail price of a four-station Rain Bird ESP-SMTe, easily expandable to 22 stations. Rain Bird will also be conducting classes on learning what a “smart” controller does in comparison to a traditional controller.
Water Conservation Expo participants will also be able to learn about xeriscape, which refers to seven principles that help ensure that landscapes are water efficient. Implementing these principles can create beautiful and healthy landscapes while saving water. Instructor Donna DiFrancesco, a water conservation specialist with the city of Mesa, will teach attendees about xeriscape, low-water-use plants, water conservation and sustainability.
Previous Water Conservation Expo exhibits have included:
• An SRP zanjeros display of carts, tires and other debris removed from the canal system during the annual canal dry-ups.
• Quagga mussel and white amur displays.
• The Niagara Stealth Toilet, a super quiet, EPA WaterSense-labeled toilet that uses only 0.8 gallons of water per flush.
SRP is the largest provider of water and power to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.