California is facing one of the worst droughts in the state’s history. Local governments from Los Angeles to Napa are feeling the heat to come up with new ways to reduce and conserve what’s quickly becoming one of the most expensive commodities in the west – water.
It’s clear the drought won’t disappear overnight and the cost of water is only going to increase as water resources are strained further. Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order calling on all Californians to reduce their water usage by 20%.
Up until recently, Rancho Santa Fe was one of the largest per capita consumers of water in the state. But that’s starting to change.
In 2014 the RSF Golf Club started to replace just under 20 acres of water-hungry turf and foliage with low-water, native vegetation. The move saved the Golf Club $1,620,000 via a rebate from the Metropolitan Water District as part of a broader plan to incentivize communities to use less water in the long term.
In addition to Association-wide changes, a team of RSF residents are taking on the challenge of making water-smart improvements of their own.
Mike Licosati and John Ryan recently met with Mike Bardin, General Manager of the Santa Fe Irrigation District, to learn more and see how they could help.
Ryan said, “The bottom line is our 3 areas of supply have been dwindling. Some in Sacramento would like to dictate how much water we can have, like a quota. We want to be proactive in saving water so that we don’t end up in a situation where Sacramento is telling our community what to do.”
According to Bardin, 30 percent of the Santa Fe Irrigation District’s (SFID) water supply comes from Lake Hodges. That’s a local water supply SFID has had the rights to since the 1920’s. Another 65 percent is imported, while 5 percent comes from reclaimed or recycled sources.
Bardin says the Rancho Santa Fe community could cut water usage by as much as 15-20% by using water more efficiently and conserving when they can, but most people don’t understand what that means or how to do it.
To find out what practical solutions will work best, Mike Licosati and John Ryan have volunteered their properties to be case studies. They will be implementing recommendations provided by SFID and documenting the results for future publication and community awareness.
Jessica Parks is the Public Information Officer for the Santa Fe Irrigation District.