Data collection underway to quantify benefits of replacing turf with drought-tolerant landscaping

Posted May 6, 2022

SCCWRP and the County of San Diego have begun the data collection phase for a study seeking to measure how much irrigation-induced runoff is eliminated when residential turf grass is replaced with drought-tolerant landscaping and a drip irrigation system.

The study, which began in 2021, represents a first-of-its-kind effort to quantify the value of turf replacements, which are a type of stormwater BMP (best management practice) designed to reduce use of irrigation water and eliminate irrigation-derived runoff.

Data collection efforts started in March in a residential community in Spring Valley. The first year of the study was spent configuring and installing a custom array of soil moisture sensors, as well as measuring the baseline infiltration capacity of the soil.

Water districts commonly offer property owners rebates and incentives for turf replacements. By assessing the potential of turf replacements to contribute to runoff water-quality goals, researchers hope to demonstrate if stormwater management agencies also should make bigger investments in these turf replacement programs.

More news related to: Runoff Water Quality, Stormwater BMPs