Utility Service Partners, Inc.

Sharing industry news, best practices and program highlights from experts in the field.

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Put Your Landscape on a Water Diet

iStock_000001472480Medium Green Solutions SlideWhen plants absorb sunlight to produce oxygen through photosynthesis, the water in their leaves evaporates, requiring the plant to pull water from the ground – which could be trouble for some plants in drought-prone areas.

During periods of extreme heat and drought, this process can use all of a plant’s water resources quickly. As a result, when the weather is hotter, a natural reaction when gardening is to water the plants. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing could be detrimental to the plants. If plants are overwatered during the hottest months, it could send mixed signals, encouraging growth at a time when the plant should be conserving resources. Sometimes it’s better to put your landscape on a strict water diet to ensure healthy plants and conserve water during the hottest months.

So what’s the right amount of water for your plants? That relies on several factors, including:

  • Climate
  • Types of plants
  • Current weather predictions

In order to keep your landscape on a strict diet and conserve water, here are a few simple tricks from the Environmental Protection Agency:

  • Select plants native to the climate, which will require less water since they are adapted to adjust with the seasons locally. Local nurseries can give you the best advice for native plants along with tips on how to properly care for them.
  • Water plants in the early morning or late evening and not during the hottest part of the day. Be sure to note the weather forecast so you don’t water in the morning only for it to rain later in the day.
  • Use mulch to help retain moisture in the soil.
  • Group plants with similar watering needs together, which will help not only conserve water, but concentrate your watering areas correctly.

When monitoring your plants, there are some tell-tale signs they need water:

  • Drooping leaves and stems
  • Flowers that lose their petals too soon
  • Plant coloration – look for a brownish color

These simple tips will help keep your landscape fit and trim this summer. Interested in learning more about photosynthesis? Check out these articles on How Stuff Works and Encylopedia.com. For more information on finding native plants in your area, check out Find Native Plants.

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President’s Corner: A message from Philip E. Riley, Jr., President and CEO

Philip E. Riley, Jr., President and CEO

The 2014 – 2015 Fiscal Year was a period of significant growth for Utility Service Partners, Inc., program administrator for the National League of Cities (NLC) Service Line Warranty Program. From the expansion into Canada to the addition, based on consumer feedback and demand, of the In-Home Plumbing product for the NLC Service Line Warranty Program, we have been excited to expand our program, and service offerings, across North America.

With the endorsement of the In-Home Plumbing program by the NLC, we will be introducing this new program to our current partners to further enhance their protection program to bring peace of mind to residents through a more comprehensive repair program to protect their property.

We are also pleased to receive the endorsement of the Local Area Service (LAS) serving the Association of Municipalities in Ontario (AMO). LAS was created in 1992 and is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization under the laws of Canada, mandated to work with Ontario municipalities, as well as organizations from the broader public sector, to help realize lower costs, higher revenues and enhanced staff capacity through co-operative procurement efforts and innovative training, programs and services. The Service Line Warranty Program is well-aligned with the LAS mission.

We are now wrapping up the spring 2015 campaign—our largest campaign ever! During this campaign we mailed to nearly 2 million households, and our program is now available to over 5 million households across North America. Several new partners joined us this spring, including Dallas, Texas; Newark, New Jersey; Deer Park, Ohio; Villa Hills, Kentucky, and Beaver, Pennsylvania. As always, we are appreciative of our city partners and their commitment to providing residents with value-added programs that can address environmental and infrastructure needs.

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KC Grow Brings Irrigation to Community Gardens Through Grants

As partners with the National League of Cities Service Line Warranty Program, cities can elect to receive a royalty which can generate revenue for their city. How to use the money is at the discretion of the city. Some partners choose to fund specific programs – such as the KC Grow program in Kansas City, Missouri.

“The KC Grow program promotes growing nutritious food for the community in conjunction with Kansas City Community Gardens,” said City Councilman John A. Sharp. “Productive gardens are replacing vacant lots that once only grew weeds. Access to water for these gardens is often costly, which is where the program steps in. Funds received from the Service Line Warranty Program, administered by Utility Service Partners, are used to help offset some of the expenses of providing adequate water.”

The KC Grow program helps make water accessible for community gardens and city farms. The program provides grants funded through the City of Kansas City and administered by Kansas City Community Gardens with technical assistance to farmers provided by Cultivate Kansas City. Royalties from the Service Line Warranty Program are used to fund grant requests to connect water service to the garden plots and install systems to catch rain water, pumping systems, drip irrigation systems and various other irrigation tools.

“By helping offset one of the biggest expenses, Kansas City Community Gardens can use existing funding to support educational programs, keep rental plots affordable for all families and further our mission,” said Ben Sharda, Kansas City Community Gardens Executive Director.

“These gardens bring joy and good health to the Kansas City community through nutritious food, exercise and knowledge. We are excited to be able to do more of this work thanks to this program.”

The mission of Kansas City Community Gardens is to assist low-income households and community groups in the Kansas City metropolitan area in growing vegetables and fruit from garden plots located in backyards, vacant lots and community sites. Residents that are unable to grow a garden at their own home due to shady backyards, rental restrictions, or lack of space can rent a plot in community gardens.

For more than 30 years, the Kansas City Community Gardens agency has helped the community improve nutrition, reduce food costs, combat obesity, increase physical activity, encourage community leadership and promote locally grown and sustainable food. For more information on the KC Grow program or Kansas City Community Gardens, visit http://kccg.org/.

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As a valued partner of the National League of Cities Service Line Warranty program, you have access to numerous resources to help communicate information about the program, as well as homeowner tips and tricks, to your residents.

Social Media and Blogs

  • SLWA publishes a weekly blog highlighting homeowner tips and tricks, important industry news and relevant information about topics such as water conservation, detecting a leak and much more at slwablog.com.
  • Information and additional links are also posted daily on our social media pages at facebook.com/servicelinewarrantiesofamerica and twitter.com/slwanews. As you craft your
    own social media posts, feel free to share this information with your residents.
  • You can also tag our consumer brand page so your homeowners can learn more about
    the program.

Web Banners & Press Releases
During our regular campaigns, web banners and press releases about the program are available upon request.

Partner Reporting Portal
Don’t forget that access to program statistics is just a click away! Access your reports through the partner portal found on our website home page, utilitysp.net.

Request Content
Have a request or need more information? Contact Blake Stogner, Manager, Business Development, at
or 214-552-4098.