Wednesday, July 30, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Serrano cuts water use 30%

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GREEN TURF along Silva Valley Parkway near the El Dorado Hills Library will get 50 percent less water than last year, even though it uses recycled water. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

By
From page A1 | March 26, 2014 |

Serrano Home Owners Association is reducing its use of recycled water for landscaping by 30 percent and may even reach the 50 percent mark, HOA manager David Sanders told the El Dorado Irrigation District board Monday.

That water use reduction is being achieved by using a weather station built with a grant from EID and the Regional Water Authority. More than 1,000 front yards in Serrano have been upgraded with “smart” controllers that have reduced water consumption as much as 25 percent.

Serrano waters 88 acres, much of which, Sanders said, is small turf on front yards. There are 100 homes yet to be converted to the smart controllers that shut off in the rain and are guided by weather station info.

Serrano is designing “reduced turf front years” for owners who want to further reduce their irrigation.

Serrano is also updating its design guidelines to allow artificial turf in back yards and require other water saving design elements.

Additionally, the Serrano HOA set all its irrigation controllers for front yards, parks and streetscapes at 50 percent of last year’s watering schedule. The staff will do spot checks of front yards and read recycled meters monthly. All planting and plant replacement programs are suspended by the HOA until the drought is over.

The Village Green recirculating stream at the Serrano Visitors Center will be shut off during the drought and the pond maintained by aeration tubes to keep it from getting stagnant.

At the Serrano Country Club, watering is also guided by a weather station. Manager Bob Stangroom said the golf club has taken immediate steps such as only serving water when diners ask for it, reducing equipment washing, using water-saving washers, shower heads and toilets and the club has reduced washing golf carts.

“We actually run a fine line between a golf course and a dead zone, Stangroom told the EID board March 24.

Using 100 percent reclaimed water, the club stretches the value of its water by adding wetting agents to retain water longer in the root zone and managing course water use on a daily basis. The course superintendent spends two hours daily at a computer. The grass in the rough has been raised a couple of inches. Watering needs for the fairways and greens are determined by hand-held moisture sensors and also by soil sensors that determine evapotranspiration rates. The irrigation system is called state of the art.

The golf course has 2,800 sprinkler heads, each of which can be individually controlled. The soil sensors communicate directly to the computer. But about 400-500 sprinkler heads have been shut off.

The course uses organic fertilizers on its 50 acres of fairways, tees and greens. A synthetic acid product helps open up compacted soils to allow deeper water penetration.

The club is spending $75,000 to save $25,000 worth of water, according to Stangroom and a hand-out sheet from Serrano Country Club.

“I’d like to thank Serrano Home Owners Association and Country Club. I met with them and was very impressed with what they have done about drought planning,” said Director Dale Coco. “I’d like to take this as a model to HOAs.”

“I think they (Serrano) are showing leadership in the community,” Coco added.

The Serrano El Dorado Owners Association is hosting a water conservation expo for its members April 26.

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Michael Raffety

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