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Posts Tagged ‘Water Conservation’

Tips for Choosing Drought Tolerant Plants

With the current emphasis on water savings, many companies and HOA’s are turning to drought tolerant plant material to help lower their rising water costs. These plants are great if properly selected and can dramatically effect your property’s irrigation needs. However, you can end up causing more harm than good if these simple steps are not followed.

Irrigation

The first thing you will want to look at is at the current irrigation system. A common mistake is to plant drought tolerant plant material in an area that has an irrigation valve which covers both the new drought tolerant plants as well as existing plants with higher water needs. This will create a situation where some plants are receiving too much or too little water, effectively eliminating any expected water savings. To achieve the maximum water savings group plants together according to their watering needs and ensure that separate irrigation valves water those areas.

Location

As with any plant, you will need to pay attention to where the new plant material will be located. The soil type and sun exposure plays a large role in the type of drought tolerant plants that you will be able to use. Strategic planning is necessary to ensure the new plant material gets established. The success or failure of your new drought tolerant landscape (or any landscape for that mater) depends on the correct selection of plants for the intended area. Talk to your landscaper about the best plant options for the area you are planning on re-landscaping. Remember, there are even specific drought tolerant plants that are recommended for Fuel-Mod areas and slopes.

By taking these simple steps when planting new drought tolerant plant material, you can achieve maximum water savings and have healthier plant material.

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Reprinted with permission from Vista Del Verde Landscape, Inc. For more information about water management and drought tolerant plant material selection you may visit their website at http://www.vdvlandscape.com

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Community Associations and Homeowners Can Conserve Water

Written by Farrah Esquer, CCAM, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, President

Did you know that May is California Water Awareness Month?  Community associations and homeowners can do their part in conserving water.  Here are a few tips to help save money by reducing water usage in your community.

1.         Have “smart” irrigation controllers installed and maintained by a landscape company that specializes in such installations and can monitor and maintain the system.  Smart irrigation     controllers utilize sensors and weather information to automatically adjust the irrigation times to reduce overwatering.  Smart irrigation controllers can also be automatically turned off during rain or when the system detects a break in the line.

2.         Have the landscape contractor perform regular inspections of the irrigation system to inspect for leaks and to prevent overwatering onto the curbs and asphalt.  Minor adjustments to the irrigation system will not only save money in water costs, but also will save money in the cost to repair and replace asphalt.  Damage from irrigation systems is a major cause of damage to the asphalt.

3.         Consider conducting an association-wide landscape renovation project to replace existing landscape material with drought-tolerant plant material and adjust the irrigation appropriately.  Your Board of Directors should also consider reducing the turf areas and converting to planters if the turf areas are not used for recreation.  Watering large turf areas can cost your association thousands of dollars in water bills.

4.         Mulch around trees and shrubs in the common area to help retain moisture in the ground and help reduce the amount of irrigation needed.

You can save money and conserve water by:

1.         Taking shorter showers.

2.         Turning off the water when brushing your teeth.

3.         Installing dual-flush toilets and high-efficiency clothes washers.

4.         Checking your toilets regularly for leaking and repair leaks immediately.

5.         Running the dishwasher only with a full load of dishes.

6.        Operating the clothes washer with only a full load of laundry.

According to the Metropolitan Water District and the Family of Southern California Water Agencies at bewaterwise.com, taking a shorter shower by one or two minutes will help you save up to five gallons of water.  Turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save you three gallons of water per day, and by running a full dishwasher and clothes washer you can save between 15 and 50 gallons of water each time.

Community associations should work with their landscape contractor to develop water saving techniques.  Homeowners can learn more at bewaterwise.com.

 

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