Water Conservation Program
Posted on Jun 10th, 2009
Penasquitos Casablanca Homeowners Association
Water Conservation Program
Background: The cost of water is increasing dramatically on an annual basis. Moreover, a January 28, 2009 article in the Union-Tribune stated that water rationing is probable by July 1 and water use beyond imposed restrictions will incur financial penalties. Action must be taken to thwart significantly higher homeowners association fees and lower property market value.
Program: The Board has developed, with guidance from the Viridian Consultant Group, a Program with the following key components to reduce water use and related costs over the next three to five years.
1. Toilets: The toilet replacement project in conjunction with the County Water Authority’s Low-Flow Toilet Rebate Program will significantly reduce “interior” water consumption. Although there is no cost to owners for participation, the cost of installation (and the additional cost of switching from free white toilets to “biscuit” colored toilets to match the current color at Casablanca) must be paid by the Association. Thus, after one-time costs are covered, there will be a reduction in “interior” water use and costs.
2. Turf Reduction: Turf (aka lawn or grass) requires much more water and landscape maintenance than shrubs. Replacing much of the existing turf with low maintenance shrubs, called a “sustainable landscape practice”, will reduce “exterior” water and landscaping costs over time. However, there will be a one-time cost to removing turf, then purchasing and planting new shrubs.
3. Irrigation System: The current outdated system to irrigate landscape will be replaced by modern WeatherTrak “smart controllers” with linkage to satellites to ensure landscape watering occurs only as needed. In addition, the current spray nozzles will be replaced by a low-flow drip system. These two conversions are part of a “sustainable landscape practice”. After the one-time cost of the new system, there will be a reduction in “exterior” water costs.
4. Landscape Maintenance: Replacement of much of the turf with new low maintenance shrubs, mulch, and the eventual replacement of existing high maintenance shrubs and trees with new low maintenance ones, will reduce landscape maintenance costs by reducing trimming, pruning and biomass removal/disposal costs. This conversion is also called a “sustainable landscape practice”. After the one-time cost of turf removal and new shrubs, there will be a reduction in landscaping costs.
5. Building Repairs: Over-spraying from the current irrigation system damages building exteriors and causes run-off that damages asphalt parking lots to the extent that re-surfacing must occur more often than otherwise necessary. The new low-flow drip irrigation system will prevent these problems. Again, after the implementation of components #2 and #3 above, there will be a reduction in building repair and re-surfacing costs.
Financing: The Program will be implemented without incurring outside debt; the one-time costs and on-going cost reductions are expected to balance. The current budget levels for water and landscaping will be utilized (with annual cost-of-living adjustments). The consultant is also seeking outside funding in the form of rebates and grants. The improvements are expected to be completed within three to five years.
Conclusion: A dramatic increase in Fees due to the water crisis will be avoided.