REAL School Gardens wishes to recognize Texas Agrilife Extension Services as one of our partners in educating the public regarding Texas water resources. Texas Agrilife has partnered with us in bringing techniques for water conservation to the public schools in which we build learning gardens for inquiry-driven, sensory-based learning.
With the increased population in Texas, the demand for water has soared and we need to be reminded to respect the available water captured underground and in lakes and utilize it in a practical and useful way.
A special thank you goes to Dotty Woodson and Jeff Raska of Texas Agrilife; they come to the build days of our learning garden installations and assist the school and community in setting up drip irrigation in the vegetable and Texas native perennial beds. Volunteers and teachers that come to the school garden installs receive valuable training in drip irrigation techniques and are able to bring this information and application to their own home landscapes and gardens. To date there are 10 schools that have received installation of a drip irrigation system in their outdoor classroom. Oftentimes there is on average 250 volunteers per garden installation and that means upwards of 2,500 people have been exposed to the drip irrigation watering approach. Additionally, the 10 schools conservatively have 450 students each and this shows 4,500 students the value and simple technology of water conservation.
Texas Agrilife states:
"With proper management, drip irrigation reduces water loss by up to 60 percent or more as compared to traditional watering methods. Traditional methods often deliver water faster than most soils can absorb. When this happens, water runs off the surface, removing valuable topsoil and nutrients. A properly adjusted drip irrigation allows water to soak in immediately. There is no flooding or run-off; all of the water goes directly to the roots and avoids watering weed patches, walkways and areas between plants. Wind does not carry water away as it can with sprinkler systems, and water loss to evaporation is negligible."
For more information about drip irrigation and water management, click here and here.