TPI Scores Some Successful Strides with EPA’s WaterSense Specifications
The efforts of TPI and other coalition partners to address the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “WaterSense” Program has been an on-going effort and continues even though the EPA has released its final WaterSense Single-Family New Home Specification.
As a result of TPI’s efforts and those of our lobbyist we did achieve some measure of success as it pertains to turfgrass. The landscaped design criteria now has two options: One option requires using the Water-Sense Water Budget Tool and the other option suggests turfgrass shall not exceed 40 percent of the landscaped area. It was initially proposed that turfgrass shall not exceed 40 percent of the entire landscapable area. The final draft now suggests this is only applicable to the front yard.
It was initially proposed that plantings other than turfgrass shall be installed on slopes in excess of four feet of horizontal run per one foot vertical rise. The final draft now uses the word “vegetation” which suggests turfgrass is acceptable.
Kevin Morris of the National Turfgrass Federation (of which TPI is a member and TPI’s executive director, Kirk Hunter serves on the board) has suggested the turf limit may be dropped in future iterations of the specs. Although WaterSense is a voluntary program these efforts were taken because there is some apprehension that the specs may be mandated locally by some jurisdictions in the future.
In addition, the coalition feels there is much room for improvement as a “one-size-fits-all” approach for living plants isn’t practical or scientifically feasible. In consideration of the before mentioned issues (mandated compliance and/or “one-size-fits all”), TPI and the coalition will continue their efforts to have changes made to the specs.
To view the final version of the WaterSense specifications click on the link below:
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Past information about the EPA WaterSense: