One of the rising costs, perhaps one of the most steeply rising costs to many future associations, is water. How can community associations handle it? Fortunately, there is no one single way to save money. Some associations provide both landscaping and household water. If we start with landscaping, Keystone suggests several ways to cut water in community associations.
How to save water in community associations?
Perform a water audit. Turn off all water in the community and see if the meter runs. Turn off by sections to determine where there may be a leak. Inspect the external valve by valve.
In the summer, cut lawns to 2 to 3 times a week and plants 1-2 days a week. In winter, use water only as needed to keep some moisture in the soil. When the soil is dry 1-2 inches deep, it may be time to water.
Water only before 6 am and after 8 pm. All too often, we have seen water blown by the wind against buildings. During these hours, the air is usually still, and the temperature has dropped significantly, so evaporation is minimal. Water agencies give rebates for weather-based irrigation clocks from time to time (from $25 – $80 per controller) for smart sprinkler heads (up to $3 per nozzle, often with a minimum order of 25). If the grass is required and still seems to be the ground cover of choice in many associations, it can build a plan to reduce the grass and convert to native plantings over a fixed period.
There is a beautiful Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College in San Diego. It has a magnificent array of colorful plants to select from. Many people believe there can be no color when switching to drought-resistant plants. Visiting the desert in February or March proves that assumption wrong. Adding 2-3 inches of mulch to bare areas will retain the moisture and cut down on weeds. There were and may still be rebates for turf removal and the installation of rebates for the use of synthetic turf.
Landscaping: the overuse of water
All too often, we see irrigations water streaming down the gutters in the streets. All too often, it is one of our neighbors. The state is in a multi-year drought, and the Colorado River, one of southern California’s main water sources, is in a nine-year lack. The fact is most of our summers are dry, unlike say Hawaii, where it rains in the afternoons. It is estimated that southern Californians use 56% of their water on landscaping. Overwatering is the number 1 problem for community associations. Green lawns make everyone happy until those responsible for paying for the water compare their costs to a neighbor’s.