The art of sav­ing wa­ter

Los Angeles Times - - CULTURE MONSTER - BY JES­SICA GELT

The reach of the Cal­i­for­nia drought has ex­tended to some high­pro­file art mu­se­ums with lush gar­dens and abun­dant wa­ter fea­tures. Here’s what three key Los An­ge­les-area in­sti­tu­tions are do­ing to cut back: Hunt­ing­ton Li­brary, Art Col­lec­tions, and Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, San Marino

The Hunt­ing­ton, with its 207 acres planted with ex­otic flora, faces big chal­lenges when it comes to wa­ter con­ser­va­tion.

The mu­seum said it has cut the amount of lawn on the prop­erty in half — from about 18 acres to 9. The re­main­ing lawn re­ceives less wa­ter than it used to, as does the prop­erty’s rose gar­den, which has cut its wa­ter us­age by 40%. The gar­den’s cu­ra­tor, Tom Car­ruth, is us­ing the site to teach visi­tors that roses can be drought-tol­er­ant.

Var­i­ous gar­dens are be­ing retro­fit­ted with ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems de­signed to re­duce waste with lowflow sprin­kler heads. The new Steven S. Kob­lik Ed­u­ca­tion and Visi­tor Cen­ter is planted with Cal­i­for­nia na­tive plants, a first for the Hunt­ing­ton.

The mu­seum has de­vel­oped an online re­source, hunt­ing­ton.org/ wa­ter, to out­line the steps it’s tak­ing. The Getty Cen­ter (and the Getty Villa)

Last June, both lo­ca­tions turned off all wa­ter foun­tains and drained all pools ex­cept for the fish-in­hab­ited ones and one de­signed by Robert Ir­win, an art in­stal­la­tion at the Getty Cen­ter that is con­sid­ered part of the mu­seum’s col­lec­tion.

More re­cently, the Getty has be­gun in­stalling more drought­tol­er­ant plants, a leak-de­tec­tion sys­tem and drip ir­ri­ga­tion. It has also found a more ef­fi­cient way of de­liv­er­ing needed hu­mid­ity to ex­hi­bi­tion rooms.

Turn­ing off the foun­tains alone saves nearly 2,500 gal­lons a day. The Getty said it has re­duced the amount of wa­ter it uses by 55% since the Getty Cen­ter opened in 1997. Los An­ge­les County Mu­seum of Art

LACMA rep­re­sen­ta­tives said that as the pres­sures of the drought have grown, the mu­seum has adopted wa­ter-sav­ing mea­sures, in­clud­ing work­ing with the non- profit Arts Earth Part­ner­ship, with a spe­cific fo­cus on wa­ter ef­fi­ciency.

Staff mem­bers regularly check for leaks in all ar­eas of the cam­pus, wa­ter­less uri­nals are used through­out all build­ings and low-flow sen­sor faucets have been in­stalled through­out. Wa­ter use in clean­ing also is be­ing re­duced.

Ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems are be­ing re­placed with smart weather-base con­trollers, and the wa­ter­ing sched­ule is be­ing closely mon­i­tored with the goal of re­duc­ing ir­ri­ga­tion run times.

The mu­seum reuses wa­ter from ex­hi­bi­tions in the land­scape, and plant­ing ar­eas are be­ing mulched to in­crease mois­ture re­ten­tion.

A num­ber of wa­ter con­ser­va­tion projects are in the works, in­clud­ing shut­ting off the Dorothy Collins Brown foun­tain that runs along the stair­case from Wil­shire Boule­vard up to the Bing Theater, and sig­nif­i­cantly re­duc­ing plant­ing at the Spauld­ing Av­enue park­ing lot by about 80% and re­plac­ing it with de­com­posed gran­ite.

jes­sica.gelt@latimes.com

Jes­sica Gelt Los An­ge­les Times

THE HUNT­ING­TON

has cut the amount of lawn on its prop­erty in half and added dry-cli­mate plants.

Mel Mel­con Los An­ge­les Times

LACMA’S plan to save wa­ter in­cludes mulching plant­ing ar­eas to in­crease mois­ture re­ten­tion.

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