Harris County is one of the most populated counties in the United States. About 30% of domestic water use in the U.S. is for outdoor activities, especially landscape irrigation and gardening. Optimum landscape and garden irrigation contributes to substantial water and energy savings and a substantial reduction of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Thus, the objectives of this work are to (i) calculate site-specific turf grass irrigation water requirements across Harris County and (ii) calculate CO2 emission reductions and water and energy savings across the county if optimum turf grass irrigation is adopted. The Irrigation Management System was used with site-specific soil hydrological data, turf crop water uptake parameters (root distribution and crop coefficient), and long-term daily rainfall and reference evapotranspiration to calculate irrigation water demand across Harris County. The Irrigation Management System outputs include irrigation requirements, runoff, and drainage below the root system. Savings in turf irrigation requirements and energy and their corresponding reduction in CO2 emission were calculated. Irrigation water requirements decreased moving across the county from its north-west to its south-east corners. However, the opposite happened for the runoff and excess drainage below the rootzone. The main reason for this variability is the combined effect of rainfall, reference evapotranspiration, and soil types. Based on the result, if the average annual irrigation water use across the county is 25 mm higher than the optimum level, this will result in 10.45 million m3 of water losses (equivalent water use for 30,561 single families), 4413 MWh excess energy use, and the emission of 2599 metric tons of CO2.
Sustainability 2019, 11(5) - Special Issue Water-Energy Sustainable Urban Development
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