Altman Plants is on a mission to prove that, despite California’s drought conditions, it is possible to save water while still maintaining the ability to irrigate your plants sufficiently.
The company, which ranks third on Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Top 100 Growers list, hosted a media day on Monday, October 3, to demonstrate the significant water savings it is seeing as a result of an innovative, on-site water-recycling program that captures irrigation runoff for reuse on plants and lower the company’s water use. This month, Altman celebrated more than 100 million gallons of water saved since the reuse program began operation.
Less than two years ago, Altman Plants secured grant funding from Western Municipal Water District and The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to implement a water-reuse system to water the nursery’s 400 acres of plants. The project includes a water recycling program with the ability to capture nursery irrigation runoff in lined ditches and reservoirs. The water is then stored and reused to water the nursery’s plants.
“The partnership between Altman Plants, Western, and Metropolitan is evidence that rebate programs can result in substantial water savings,” says Tim Barr, Western’s Director of Water Resources. “Programs such as this one can be used as examples that demonstrate innovation in a time when water resources are scarce. Additionally, many of the plants sold by the nursery are drought tolerant. Our customers purchase the plants and use them to replace water-thirsty landscaping. The project comes back full circle.”
As one of Western’s larger water volume business customers, Altman Plants reuses approximately 360 acre-feet of water, which is equivalent to more than 117 million gallons in annual potable water savings. The associated water savings actually exceeds the project’s goal by 5.5%.
“As a company, Altman Plants has always taken an interest in water savings. We realize that we can’t create more water, and the cost continues to increase,” says Jim Hessler, Altman Plants’ Director of West Coast Operations. “We understood the reality of limited water resources years ago. Five years earlier, prior to starting the water recycling program, we had already cut our water use in half. Our current water reuse system takes a unique approach to water management and is being used as part of a national study to create best management practices for growers.”