Fort Collins irrigation consultant wins ASIC award

Aqua Engineering recognized for its study on irrigation and turf reduction in Peoria, Arizona

Fort Collins-based Aqua Engineering will be recognized by the American Society of Irrigation Consultants (ASIC) for its study on irrigation and turf reduction in Peoria, Arizona.

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ASIC will present its 2019 Excellence in Irrigation Awards at the ASIC National Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 6. Award winners are based on the quality of project planning, design functionalism, environmental responsibility and relevance. The projects are independently judged by an academic team from Cal Poly Pomona and Kansas State University who are looking for evidence of unique problem solving; forward-thinking water resource management solutions; and clarity in presentation.

This year, four firms will be given awards for their winning entries. Aqua Engineering will receive the Merit award in planning and analysis for its study on irrigation and turf reduction in Peoria, Arizona. The project was led by Doug Macdonald.

An extensive site analysis was performed at 18 neighborhood parks in Peoria. Site-specific reports were developed based on site visit observations, equipment audits, historical water use data, theoretical hydraulic models and GPS irrigation system mapping.

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The study identified several important irrigation system deficiencies at multiple parks, and recommended potential renovation strategies:

• The consultant recommended the development of a clear, consistent and comprehensive set of written irrigation design, equipment and operational standards as part of the initial improvements the city should implement.

• The final recommendations included common turf reduction strategies such as eliminating small or irregular areas, replacing turfgrass with decomposed granite and native planting slopes greater than 4:1 and in minor basins.

• The costs for renovations will be significant and will likely need to be budgeted over an extended period. Due to the low cost of water, it was determined that the cost savings for all recommended improvements would not result in a short-term payback scenario based on water savings alone. Therefore, the consultant developed a prioritized renovation strategy that would address the highest priority/highest payback recommendations first and the lower priority recommendations on a reasonable time table.

• Site-specific observations, including overall severity of the required renovations, estimated renovation cost, turfgrass reduction potential, and site-specific priorities provided by city representatives was used to develop a set of ranking criteria for renovations at each site.

• During the comprehensive inventory stage, the consultant was also able to provide updated GPS mapping documentation to function as “as-built” record drawings for use by City of Peoria maintenance staff at each park.

• The study provided essential information that aided city representatives in securing project funding. Funds have already been allocated in the newest city budget to implement several of the recommendations.

Other winners include Lincoln, Nebraska-based Water Scape Inc. for its Cloisters on the Platte project, led by Ken Merboth; and Irrigation Consulting Services Inc. in Madison, Georgia, for its Home Depot Backyard/Atlanta Sports Entertainment District. That project was led by Bob Scott. Merboth and Scott will receive the Honor and Merit awards, respectively, for commercial and public works.

Australian company JP Water in Nambour, Queensland, will receive the Honor award for planning and analysis for Macadamia Nut Micro Irrigation project, led by Jim Phillips. Profiles of the winning projects, including previous years, will be available at asic.org. 2019 profiles will not be added until after the award ceremony in May.

Carol Colein is executive director of the American Society of Irrigation Consultants (ASIC). She can be reached at [email protected].

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