Title page for ETD etd-05152009-112540

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Tucker, Adrienne Janel LaBranche
URN etd-05152009-112540
Title Water Supply Planning for Landscape Irrigation in Virginia
Degree PhD
Department Environmental Design and Planning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ervin, Erik H. Committee Co-Chair
Richardson, Jesse J. Committee Co-Chair
Moore, Anne Committee Member
Younos, Tamim Committee Member
  • water supply planning
  • reclaimed water
  • evapotranspiration
  • rainwater harvesting
  • water conservation
  • alternative water sources
  • landscape irrigation
Date of Defense 2009-04-28
Availability unrestricted
A water supply plan approach was used to investigate irrigation application on landscaped areas in Virginia with a focus on turfgrass. The economically-important turfgrass industry in Virginia should be proactive in conserving drinking water supplies to meet human consumption needs, especially in drought times. This thesis investigates current irrigation water supplies, water supply sustainability, and alternative water sources to meet irrigation demands and offers an insight on how potable water is unnecessarily consumed for non-potable irrigation needs.

A Virginia evapotranspiration website was developed to offer a scientifically based source for efficient irrigation scheduling. The website was developed using a collaborative and user-centered design method, which included potential users in the process. The final website is hosted on the Virginia Tech website at http://www.turf.cses.vt.edu/Ervin/et_display.html and utilizes data from weather stations throughout the state.

Evapotranspiration-based irrigation was tested at three case study sites in Blacksburg, Williamsburg and Norfolk, Virginia to assess potential water conservation. In Williamsburg, a 55% water savings was reported with evapotranspiration-based irrigation. In Blacksburg, slightly more water was applied on research greens irrigated based on evapotranspiration demand. Significantly less water was applied in Norfolk, compared to the evapotranspirationbased irrigated plots. The study also uncovered increased confidence to alter irrigation systems and the need to conduct irrigation audits when irrigating based on evapotranspiration.

Evapotranspiration-based irrigation, reclaimed water and harvested rainwater were investigated to determine feasibility for meeting irrigation demands, while reducing potable water consumption at four case study sites in Blacksburg, Fairfax, Williamsburg and Norfolk, Virginia. Due to the limited collection potential at the Blacksburg site, reclaimed water and harvested rainwater was not feasible. However, the on-site weatherstation could offer a unique opportunity to calculate evapotranspiration. In Fairfax, all three alternative water sources could be integrated to supply enough water to irrigate a soccer field and adjacent athletic fields and save an estimated $7,000 per season in potable water costs. Harvested rainwater at the Williamsburg site could supplement the irrigation pond and reduce reliance on groundwater. In Norfolk, reclaimed water use is economically feasible, but rainwater harvesting could meet the irrigation needs, while evapotranspiration-based irrigation is too labor intensive for homeowners.

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