Brant Baugh, Extension Agent – Integrated Pest Management – Lubbock
From 1998 to 2004 the average water use in Lubbock was approximately 190 gallons per person per day. The current five year average per capita water consumption is 132 gallons. During the summer months, approximately 50% of the water demand is used for irrigation of residential and commercial landscapes. Currently, Lake Meredith (the primary drinking water source for Lubbock and 10 other cities) is at less than 5% of storage capacity. The need for enhanced water conservation efforts is a priority for city leaders. Therefore, the goal of this program is for the Lubbock County Master Gardener Association to instruct community residents to conserve and protect natural resources through the use of environmentally friendly landscape management practices.
Response and Results:
Master’s Touch Seminar Series
The Lubbock Master Gardener’s conducted a Spring and Fall Master’s Touch Series at the Osher LifeLong Learning Center at TTU. The Spring series started on March 24 with Barbara Robertson teaching lawn maintenance and pruning; March 31 was Water Wise Gardening with Cecelia George; April 7the was Water Wise Garden Design with Cecelia George; April 14th was Home Vegetable Production with Ed McMurray; April 21 was Designing and Maintaining Container Gardens with Allison Smith.
Thirty five evaluations were returned for the Spring Master’s touch series. The classes averaged a 110 percent increase in knowledge on information learned based on a retrospective post survey. Seventy percent of the attendants said that they intended to adopt one or more of the practices learned.
The Fall Master’s touch series started on October 6 with Nell Rains presenting information on EarthKind roses. On October 13, Barbara Robertson taught a class on bulbs adapted to West Texas and how to force bulbs for the holidays. Des Dunn presented lasagna gardening on October 20, which is a method of layering mulches that will improve the soil, prevent weeds and reduce water usage. Dennis Anderson presented information on “do it yourself” drip irrigation installation and presented information on the benefits of hardening off your plants before planting.
Thirteen people attended the Fall series. Some of the feedback included: All of the lectures have been fun and very important; I need the instructors phone numbers; Learn where to plant roses in my yard and choosing the best varieties for Lubbock; My expectations were definitely met.
Rainwater Harvesting Seminar
The rainwater harvesting seminar was held on April 24 with 81 people in attendance. Billy Kniffen, rainwater harvesting specialist with Texas AriLife Extension was the invited speaker. Billy covered active rainwater harvesting for home and garden use by showing techniques to retain and use rainwater harvested off the home and outbuilding roofs. In addition, Billy covered passive rainwater harvesting by manipulating the home landscape to prevent water runoff. Billy also discussed the use of rainwater harvesting for benefiting wildlife and water moves through our local water shed and how to manipulate the water shed to prevent siltation of our local playas and lakes.
The results of the evaluation of the seminar are as follows: 96.7 percent of attendants were going to take action or make changes to their current water use practices and or adopt one or more of the rainwater harvesting practices. 100% of the attendees would anticipate benefiting economically as a direct result of what they learned. The average percent increase in knowledge of topics taught was 105.3 percent.
Xeric Garden Tour
The Lubbock Master Gardeners held their third annual xeric garden tour on July 26 with 236 people in attendance. Five Master Gardeners opened up their landscape to the public. The g oal of this tour is to teach participants how to plant and utilize drought tolerant plants to beautify their home. In addition, educational material was handed out or taught to participants at each stop. The city of Lubbock Water Education Team, passed out information on lawn watering, Master Gardeners taught passive and active rainwater harvesting, EarKind principals and sold copies of their garden guide. Of the 236 in attendance 102 returned their evaluation form. 100 percent found the landscapes attractive; When asked about what interested them the most on the tour, 72 percent picked water wise landscape, 60 percent picked native plants, 30 percent picked rainwater harvesting, 14 percent picked composting and mulching and 2 percent filled in the other category with detailed plant lists and yard art. When asked if they plan to implement any of these water conserving practices, 51 percent said yes, which was up from 29 percent in 2008 and not significantly different from 2009.
Based on current water usage patterns for Lubbock, the five year average daily water use is 135 gallons per person per day which is down from 190 gallons in 2000. Water usage has declined 21% since 1999 or 2.6 billion gallons per year.