The Water Budget Approach

7,600 gallons – that is the amount of water a household annually saves when the irrigation system is designed and maintained with a Water Budget approach. Created by the EPA’s WaterSense program, this tool helps landscape designers and irrigation professionals fulfill the necessary criteria specified in the WaterSense New Home Specification. 

The Creation of the Water Budget

Put into effect back in July of 2014, the WaterSense New Home Specification outlines the standards newly constructed homes must meet in order to proudly display the EPA’s WaterSense label – and more importantly, become a true water-efficient household. The primary goal of this specification is to reduce both outdoor and indoor water use within new residential homes. As a result, consumers’ save money on utility bills and drastically reduce wastewater infrastructure savings.

There are three areas the New Home Specification focuses on:

  • Indoor water use
  • Outdoor water use
  • Homeowner education

The outdoor water use section includes criteria concerning landscape design and if applicable, irrigation systems. So, where does the Water Budget Tool come in? Under Section 4.1.1, “Landscape Design”, the home’s landscaped area must be designed with the WaterSense Water Budget Tool.

How it Works

The Water Budget Tool is primarily a design tool for certified EPA WaterSense professionals, such as Water in Motion, to create sustainable landscapes based upon local watersheds. In other words, the tool is a site-specific program which calculates the allowable amount of water to be used by the landscape being designed.

The actual water budget tool itself is available online and also in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet via the WaterSense website. Whether opened online or through the spreadsheet, the designer will be guided through the water budget calculation in three parts:

First, the tool calculates the amount of water an average landscape would need and the amount of water the designed landscape is allowed in order to be considered “water-efficient”.

Second, the tool takes into account how much water the designed landscape requires based on plant type, the design of the irrigation system, and climate conditions.

Third, the tool will finally determine if the newly designed landscape satisfies the EPA’s standards.

When all three steps are filled out and the water budget has been met, the designer must print a copy of the completed tool and submit it to the builder where it will then be included in the entire inspection documentation.

When thinking about building a new home, the Water Budget Approach is the way to go in order to ensure your household is being as water-efficient as possible – plus you’ll have the EPA WaterSense label to prove it! Inspire your friends and neighbors today by contacting Water in Motion. Our team of certified WaterSense professionals will be more than happy to start designing a sustainable irrigation system through the use of the Water Budget Tool.

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