UF ABE Professor Michael Dukes was recently elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Irrigation Association (IA). Those of us who work in outdoor water-use know IA as an advocacy organization, a certifying body and a resource for young people interested in green industry careers. IrriGator interviewed Dr. Dukes about what it means to be part of the IA Board and his outlook on irrigation for 2018.
|Dr. Michael Dukes presents at Irrigation Show & Education Conference 2017|
MD: It’s a great honor to be elected to the board. I’m only the second academic to be elected to the board. Very few are elected I believe because there aren’t many of us academics that work closely with industry. I enjoy learning about the industry and helping promote efficient Irrigation.
You’ve been involved with IA a number of years now. What do you hope to contribute in this role?MD: I’ve been involved with IA in volunteer committee and leadership roles for 15 years or so and this role on the board is really exciting since the board sets policy for the organization. I look forward to participating in that role. I think I’ll learn much about the organization and its individual members in this role. I look forward to it!
Why is IA good for the industry?Excited to be at the new @IrrigationAssoc new board member orientation! Promoting irrigation efficiency! pic.twitter.com/PgGt6ueivH— Michael Dukes (@mddukes) September 26, 2017
The new year is just getting started, can you give us any insight on what you’re focused on this year? Any trends you’re excited about in irrigation in 2018?MD: Though water conservation hasn’t gotten as much attention in recent years, the Florida Water 2070 report estimates an additional 15 million people in Florida by that year. Development related water demand will increase 100% and the report goes on to say that reducing landscape irrigation is the single most effective strategy to reduce water demand in Florida.
|Water 2070 Report|
In 2018 we are still working closely with utilities on evaluation of Irrigation water conservation. They need to quantify whether things like rain sensors (Long Term Expanding-Disk Rain Sensor Accuracy) and sprinkler nozzles save enough water to warrant rebates. We are also working with developers to encourage implementation of Florida-Friendly Landscaping that we’ve shown reduces Irrigation by half compared to traditional landscapes and Irrigation (Irrigation Conservation of Florida-Friendly Landscaping Based on Water Billing Data.).
In addition, water quality impacts on the Floridan Aquifer have resulted in our project funded by the USDA. We are researching agricultural Best Management Practices such as nutrient management and irrigation management with soil moisture sensors to reduce the loss of nitrogen to the aquifer.