By Jonelle Kimbrough
| Office of the Chief, Army Reserve | June 29, 2016
Stone ground covers are prominent features of a xeriscape project at Los Alamitos Reserve Center in Los Alamitos, California. The U.S. Army Reserve’s 63rd Regional Support Command is using xeriscapes in conjunction with other water conservation projects to save natural resources in the drought-stricken state. Photo courtesy of Varun Sood, 63rd RSC. (Photo by Varun Sood)
The U.S. Army Reserve’s 63rd Regional Support Command installed a xeriscape at Holderman Hall Reserve Center in Los Angeles, California. This xeriscape features plants that are adapted to the unique climate conditions and environmental characteristics of southern California, so they require less water and maintenance. Photo courtesy of Varun Sood, 63rd RSC. (Photo by Varun Sood)
A xeriscape at the Bell Reserve Center in Bell Gardens, California is part of a series of drought-tolerant landscaping projects by the U.S. Army Reserve’s 63rd Regional Support Command. Xeriscapes are designed to conserve water with features such as native plants and stone ground covers. Photo courtesy of Varun Sood, 63rd RSC. (Photo by Varun Sood)
The U.S. Army Reserve’s 63rd Regional Support Command is saving water in California with xeriscape projects, such as this one at Bell Reserve Center in Bell Gardens. These water conservation efforts, when combined with other projects such as water efficient plumbing, have helped the 63rd RSC reduce water consumption by nearly 38 percent in one year. Photo courtesy of Varun Sood, 63rd RSC. (Photo by Varun Sood)
In the 1746 edition of “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” American statesman Benjamin Franklin wrote, “When the well is dry, we will know the worth of water.”
The U.S. Army Reserve knows the worth of water. In fact, the success of every mission depends on it. At some sites, though, drought is turning water into a limited resource and conservation into a necessity.
Typically, xeriscapes have features that are less water intensive such as stone ground covers and native plants, which are plants that have naturally occurred in a particular habitat over time, with no human intervention. Native plants are well adapted to an area’s unique climate and environmental characteristics such as its water availability, soil composition and indigenous insects. Xeriscapes therefore require less water, fewer fertilizers and fewer pesticides.
As a result, these designs have the long-term potential to conserve water, prevent chemical pollution and save money. Hays Kinslow, an energy manager with the 63rd RSC, said that xeriscapes also improve the aesthetics of their sites and reduce the need for water infrastructure and grounds maintenance.
Over the past two years, xeriscapes have been completed in California at Los Alamitos Reserve Center in Los Alamitos, Holderman Hall Reserve Center in Los Angeles and Bell Reserve Center in Bell Gardens.
“They are large facilities where we could make a big impact due to the amount of water used there for irrigation,” Sood explained. Currently, another xeriscape is planned for Leymel Hall Reserve Center in Fresno, and the 63rd RSC is exploring ways to incorporate xeriscaping in future projects.