Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Taking water conservation to the next level

North County Times
September 2006

By: JEFF KIGHTLINGER - Commentary

For years, Southern California water agencies have recognized that conservation represents an affordable, environmentally appealing alternative to building new dams and reservoirs.

Our region has made great strides simply by making conservation investments inside the home. But with up to 70 percent of water used outdoors, especially in hotter inland areas, it's become apparent that one of the solutions to ensuring reliable water supplies is in our own backyard.

In a step that many feel is long overdue, the state Legislature this week approved Assembly Bill 1881 by Assemblyman John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, which would require that local governments update their water conservation laws by Jan. 1, 2010, to recognize the need for more water-efficient landscaping.

We hope that the governor will sign this measure into law. Whatever happens, it's essential that Southern Californians continue their trend-setting ways in terms of water conservation.

These painless solutions are within the grasp of any homeowner, and make a lot of economic sense, especially in the warmer, faster-growing regions of the state.

Why should anyone spend hundreds of dollars a month to water a lawn when equally beautiful alternatives would allow homeowners to dramatically cut water use without sacrificing colorful flowers ---- and even keep some grass if they so choose?

The water industry and many builders see that the future in single-family housing is the "California Friendly" model of sensible, climate-appropriate landscaping, cutting-edge irrigation techniques, and water- and energy-efficient appliances.

For example, smart sprinkler controllers use real-time weather data to greatly reduce excessive irrigation of our landscapes. This equipment not only reduces water bills, it also reduces the amount of energy being used to transport water to our taps. As an added bonus, it cuts down on the amount of urban runoff flowing to the ocean. More...

 

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