Environmental Techniques International (ETI) has been intimately involved with SRP in their DesertWise study which took place at the PERA Club in Tempe Arizona. This document is a compilation of SRP’s study results, which were directly taken from their published report, as well as ETI’s observations during and after this study. If you would like a copy of SRP’s full report on products other than CBX or would like to schedule a tour of the PERA Club please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DWLRE - RESEARCH OVERVIEW
In October 2004, Salt River Project (SRP) initiated the DesertWise Landscape Research Exhibit (DWLRE), a water-efficiency study and demonstration project designed to test a variety of turfs, turf products, and irrigation technologies, as well as display water-efficient landscaping options. The project, housed at SRP’s PERA Club facility in Tempe, Arizona, features a xeriscape demonstration garden and uses facility grounds to study synthetic turf, varieties of drought resistant, warm and cool season grasses, advanced irrigation timers and soil amendments. Each grass and technology included in the study was selected by researching water-efficient products that are currently viable and available on the market, for both residential and commercial purposes, and by soliciting survey input from parks and recreation personnel in Salt River Valley municipalities.
The intent of the DWLRE has not been to endorse any specific companies or products, but to encourage water conservation as a long-term Arizona lifestyle by providing the community with information on available landscape and turf options that are optimal and realistic for the Phoenix metropolitan area. In particular, the project had several goals:
1) Evaluate varieties of hybrid bermuda grasses and other low-water-use turfs to determine their drought-resistance and ability to be stretched into a longer growing season.
2) Study the characteristics of a synthetic turf varieties to determine how well they withstand the Arizona environment and assess whether they provide a practical, water-conserving substitute for real grass.
3) Showcase xeriscape as a desert landscape and compare xeriscape water use with turf water use.
4) Analyze how various amendments impact soil water retention characteristics, grass health, and irrigation needs.
Although other studies have examined products included at DWLRE, particularly the grasses, they have generally been conducted in controlled settings. What makes DWLRE unique is its comprehensiveness - focusing on a broad assortment of landscape products and options, rather than just one or two - and the fact it is housed at a recreational facility where people interact with the landscape regularly. In that sense, the project is a practical, real-world study designed to collect data and information in a setting similar to many residential landscapes and city parks. As such, study results aren't based strictly on objective statistics, although an attempt was made to gather hard data wherever possible, but also on subjective observations supported by photo documentation. The conclusions presented here are based on the study's first eighteen months, which concluded in April 2006. Additional data is still being collected and will be included as an addendum to this report in the coming year.
This project was funded in large part through SRP's Renewable Energy and Technologies department, but more that 35 companies also contributed products and services to support the study.