Santa Cruz is fortunate to have such lovely public parks, sports fields, and playgrounds. They beautify and soften our urban environment and enhance our quality of life. But it takes lots of water to maintain large landscapes. So, to help customers of large landscapes better manage their water use, the Water Conservation Office launched a new water efficiency program in 2010.
Each month, our large landscape customers receive a Water Use Report which compares their irrigation use to a customized water budget. The budget shows exactly how much water it takes to keep their individual landscape healthy and thriving. When overwatering happens, the report highlights both the financial cost to the customer and amount of water lost due to inefficient practices or leaks.
Because no two sites are alike, each site has a different water budget. The budget takes into account a property’s unique site characteristics such as landscape shape and size, mix of plant materials, turf area, and irrigation equipment. The water budget varies from month to month, reflecting changes in weather conditions and seasonal plant water requirements, which rise and fall over the course of a year.
The reports help to answer the question “How much should I water?” and provide a hands-on tool to link watering costs with watering practices. In addition to the utility customer, the Water Use Reports are also sent to a site’s landscape contractor, property manager, homeowner association board members, and/or on-site manager. For properties that need extra assistance, the program includes the option of a free professional landscape survey and report, performed by an irrigation expert.
This large landscape program has grown over time to cover 16.6 million square feet of landscaped area on 181 individual sites throughout the City’s water service area. These include city and county parks, schools, commercial properties, homeowner associations golf courses, churches, and cemeteries. Together, outdoor water use at these properties adds up to 265 million gallons per year, almost 10 percent of the City’s total water consumption.
Each year Waterfluence provides an annual report that summarizes all of California's sites which are enrolled in the program. The summary inlcudes site characteristics, irrigation effeciency, and reduction in overwatering.
For more information visit the Water Use Reports website or contact the Water Conservation Office by email or phone 831-420-5230.
Sample Water Budget