Friday, November 22, 2013

I.A. in ATX FTW!

Thanks to Miami-Dade’s Urban Conservation Unit (UCU) & UF’s IrriGators, earlier this month I traveled to Austin, Texas, for the Irrigation Association's 2013 Irrigation Show and Education Conference (I.A.).

On the agenda
What to do at a conference that attracts academics, brand reps, and water experts from across the country and features both technical presentations and a ginormous product exhibition? The short answer: everything!

Opening reception with IrriGators past and present!
After attending WaterSmart in October it became apparent rather quickly that this event and the former would be two entirely different animals. First, my event lodgings for I.A. were in the center of downtown for easy access to everything. Second, the two-track presentation schedule at I.A. made deciding which talk to attend much easier. Third, since the emphasis here is on gear, the cavernous expo hall was a seemingly endless feast of brightly colored, product-laden booth after booth after booth.

All chrome errthing!

Electric car at an irrigation show? This is how you win!
Further, following the success of our WaterSmart video (released the week prior) I arrived in Austin with a working plan to shoot content for no less than three future UCU productions. This meant non-stop media mode while on location.

Watering restrictions are not always effective, reports Mackenzie Boyer

Camera time with Kansas State's Dr. Isaya Kisekka

Making movies with I.A.'s Brent Mecham
Harvesting the sky

One new development at the I.A. show was the inclusion of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) in the proceedings. While they conducted their own meetings and talks, ARCSA also contributed presentations to I.A. and exhibited all their sundry rainwater collecting devices in a pavilion within the larger product expo.

Alternative water sources for irrigation are the future. Fitting that in September we produced a video about using rain water collection systems in irrigation. See that work here or below.

In ATX and on that tweet board!
Social media was in full bloom during I.A. I certainly took full advantage of our social media platforms, firing off pictures and tweeting about the many goings-on.  

From L: Tucson Water, Municipal Water District of Orange County, Austin Water and San Antonio Water on the water purveyor panel
Never to busy to share expertise: ValleyCrest's Richard Restuccia contributes to our certification video
The Water Bloggers were also present and conducted several twitter interviews throughout the conference days. As they are my social mentors, it was a joy reconnecting with them while we each focused on different aspects of the conference.
Doing work: @theweathermatic interviews @H2Otrends
We ride free, or...

Longhorn life!
On the final conference day, I had a moment to explore the larger city. Only days earlier I had read about the water conservation measures initiated by the University of Texas, Austin campus, and suddenly there I was – surrounded by xeriscape and multi-stream spray heads, etc.
The UCU made it to Austin by winning a magazine drawing for complementary conference registration. Suffice to say we’ll be hitting those giveaways just as hard in 2014. For us, Arizona would mean staying abreast of the latest in urban landscape irrigation gear, while also reconnecting with our west coast colleagues.


  1. Looks like a great trip! Nice photos!! I will ignore the longhorn pic.