Smart Approved WaterMark (SAWM) is the first water efficiency accreditation scheme in the world to recognise drought tolerant turf. SAWM has certified water efficient products and services since 2004 across categories including irrigation, pool and spa, car washing, mulching, soil amendment products and commercial cleaning. Known as the sister scheme to WELS, it was born out of the water industry with products and services assessed by a robust Panel of Experts.
Chris Philpot, CEO, Smart Approved WaterMark said "We are very excited to be the first water efficiency certification scheme in the world to recognise drought tolerant turf. This has been a long journey for us and one that we have not trodden lightly. 18 months ago the SAWM Expert Panel approved its first turf – TifTuf. This led us to the decision to develop guidelines for turf growers to help more applicants be successful in gaining approval with SAWM. It hasn’t been an easy ride, with much back and forwards and industry consultation, but I’m pleased to say that we are launching the new turf category with confidence, acceptance and a sense of innovation. I welcome all applications in this category".
The Turf Grass Guidelines have been developed following extensive consultation with the Australian turf industry and input from panel of independent turf professionals.
Jeremy Cape, Chair of the SAWM Expert Panel since its inception in 2004, facilitated the development of the guidelines for SAWM. ”It’s great to see SAWM leading the way in water efficiency certification by developing practical guidelines for turf producers to make their applications to SAWM easier. The SAWM expert Panel looks forward to reviewing many applications shortly,” said Jeremy.
The selection of drought tolerant turf varieties for the home garden will help to conserve water as well as provide important amenity values. The drought tolerance of turf grass varieties is best assessed by conducting an experiment or growth trials. While the expert panel does not insist on a specific trial methodology to demonstrate drought tolerance, the following guidelines have been developed to guide applicants about the kind of trials that could generate the data to support an application.
It is important to emphasize that these guidelines are written solely to help applicants prepare submissions to Smart Approved WaterMark. These guidelines are not intended to set out a method for appraising all the characteristics of a turf grass. The aim is to evaluate the drought tolerance of turf grass to assist home gardeners who wish to use drought tolerance as their key selection criterion.
To evaluate applications, the expert panel requires objective, independent evidence that the turf grass demonstrates the drought tolerance characteristics claimed in the application (i.e., through independent testing or case studies). Note that unsubstantiated marketing claims are not regarded as evidence of water saving. All evidence submitted in support of an application to Smart Watermark certification must be prepared by an independent authority that has no financial interest in any turf varieties included in a trial.