Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Turfgrass irrigation system helps manage stormwater

MADISON - This summer, Doug Soldat is saving for a not-so-rainy day.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison soil scientist is banking rainwater, up to 8,000 gallons of it, enough to keep the lawn at UW-Madison's O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility lush through the driest weeks of summer.

Soldat and graduate student Brad DeBels installed two 4,000-gallon tanks, like rain barrels on steroids, that collect rainwater from the roof of the turfgrass facility's main building on Madison's far west side. Water from those tanks is used to irrigate nearby turf via subsurface drip irrigation lines.

Soldat views the setup as a prototype for a sustainable turfgrass irrigation system that does not rely on wells, water mains, storm drains or the electrical grid.

"In a three-month period we collected 19,000 gallons off the roof at the Noer Center and sent it all to the turf - 3,150 square feet of lawn," he says. "We were able to use and infiltrate all of the rain that that fell on the Noer Center's 7,000-square-foot rooftop."

To read entire article, go to UW-Madison News.

For information on another rainwater-saving technique, visit Wisconsin's Water Library's Rain Gardens reading list. Rain gardens capture water in a shallow depression planted with vegetation that filters the water as it slowly seeps into the ground. This creates cleaner groundwater and protects our lakes and streams.