Texas A&M AgriLife Dallas center wins 2014 WaterSense Excellence Award

The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2014 WaterSense Excellence Award for Outreach and Education.

Clint Wolfe, the Dallas center’s Urban Water Program manager, said the center has a long history of providing research-based educational programs on water use efficiency in the region.

Wolfe said in 2013 the AgriLife center’s Urban Water Program conducted 243 water efficiency classes, reaching more than 12,000 individuals. It also provided 22 regional outreach events to more than 500,000 individuals, hosted 26 professional trainings for landscape and irrigation industry personnel and conducted 86 youth programs in the Dallas metroplex.

In addition, the center’s urban water team constructed 4,800 rain barrels through the “Saving from a Rainy Day” class, saving an estimated 7.6 million gallons of potable water from being used on urban landscapes.

The team also transformed a 1980s house into the center’s WaterSense-labeled home, which opened in March 2013. The interior was completely renovated, using many sustainable products, and the 6,850-square-foot landscape was revamped using hardscape, water-efficient turfgrass and planted beds.

The home’s landscape showcases Palisades zoysia grass, a resource-efficient turfgrass developed at the center. The grass uses 50-percent less water than other traditional turfgrasses.

“The WaterSense-labeled home serves as an excellent real-world demonstration of water efficient products, plant materials and rainwater harvesting for homeowners,” Wolfe said. “The home is also used weekly as a hands-on learning center for the educational classes that we offer.”

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by EPA, seeks to protect the future of the nation’s water supply by offering water-efficient products, homes and services. Since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save 757 billion gallons of water and $14.2 billion on water and energy bills, according to EPA.

For more information on the AgriLife center in Dallas and its urban water efforts, visit its website and read the full AgriLife Today news release.

For more information on the center’s WaterSense-labeled home, read this Fall 2013 txH2O story. 

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