How water use cutbacks will impact city
Potential impacts on Yorba Linda's landscaping from state-mandated cuts in water use in areas maintained by the budget-challenged landscape assessment district and the public works and parks departments were reviewed recently by City Council members.
A report from Public Works Director Mike Wolfe noted that specifics won't be available until the actual regulations and restrictions are formulated by the State Water Resources Control Board, the state Department of Water Resources and the Yorba Linda Water District.
But he stated the initial directives “will certainly impact the aesthetics of the landscaping maintained by the city. Some places that have already seen a significant impact...due to the drought conditions over the past several years will be impacted even more.”
And, Wolfe reported, “In some cases, the existing landscaping will not be able to survive with the anticipated...restrictions” and “strategies to preserve established trees” will be needed because they “will not be irrigated once the automated irrigation systems are deactivated.”
A priority, noted Wolfe, will be for parks officials to “attempt to maintain the sports turf fields at their current condition....” Athletic fields are now watered three days per week, and further reductions will have “significant impacts to playability and long-term health of the turf.”
The parks staff, if allowed under new restrictions, “would be more aggressive with water reductions in non-essential turf areas, slopes and planter areas to balance out the overall water needs and maintain the current conditions of the athletic fields,” Wolfe added.
One anticipated restriction will be a “specific directive to prohibit watering of ornamental turf in street medians with potable water,” which can be accomplished by turning off a valve for most cases, but sometimes minor re-piping or re-routing could be required, according to Wolfe.
And despite cost savings from using less water and rebates for turf removal, “based on past analysis, the dollars saved combined with the refund amounts do not offset the cost to demolish and install a new drought-tolerant plant palette with irrigation and/or artificial turf,” Wolfe noted.
Interestingly, irrigation at the city-owned Black Gold Golf Club won't be impacted because restrictions deal with potable water and the golf course uses non-potable water for grass areas.
Wolfe stated Black Gold already has employed conservation measures, such as converting fairways and roughs to drought-tolerant Kikuyu grass, applying wetting agents for water retention and using computerized irrigation with individual head controls.
“However,” added Wolfe, “should the golf course be subject to watering restrictions for non-potable water, there could be significant impacts to both maintenance operations and loss of revenue due to reductions in golf rounds.”
Rules for landscaping in new developments also will be revised.