Oceanside CA— While many cities and water districts in California are struggling to meet the state mandated water reductions, Oceanside is meeting its target and even surpassing it. With a target of 20%, Oceanside cut its water use by 31 percent from May 2013 to May 2015 and 25 percent from June 2013 to June 2015. Under mandates imposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in response to California’s drought, every water agency in the state has a different water cutback target to meet.
Oceanside residents and businesses have shown remarkable progress in their efforts to conserve water and improve efficiencies. While conserving water isn’t new to our city or to this region, there is certainly more of an intrinsic awareness to do the right thing and not waste this valuable resource. The City’s offer of free water surveys has been an overwhelming success and is undoubtedly responsible for much of the savings we’ve seen. Designed to help customers identify leaks, inefficiencies and water waste on their property, the WaterSmart Checkup is a great way to cut costs as well as water.
In recognizing that leadership requires serving as a role model for others, the City continues to look inward to re-evaluate current and future water use practices. To that end, the combined water accounts for the City itself recognized a whopping 51 percent water use reduction in June, 2015. That includes all parks, beaches, plants, city operated facilities and the Civic Center. And it wasn’t just by chance. There are current and ongoing projects aimed at improving water efficiencies throughout the city.
Among the changes you’ll notice are no water in the City’s iconic fountain at Civic Center Plaza. At many of the parks throughout the city, turf has been replaced with drought tolerant plant material and mulch. Landscape mulch has been added to most planters to reduce water loss. Outdated irrigation equipment has been replaced by weather based controllers and spray heads are being replaced with more efficient equipment designed to more specifically meet the needs of the area being irrigated. And in keeping with the Governor’s mandates, turf is no longer being irrigated on public street medians. The goal is to replace the turf with things like low-water use plant material, mulch, and groundcover.
In the past couple of years, Oceanside has made great strides in transitioning from grass-centered public spaces to waterwise native landscape. Taking advantage of the generous funding available for taking out water thirsty turf, the City has replaced over 300,000 square feet with low-maintenance, visually appealing plants, mulch and groundcover. Most recently, work was completed on the removal of parkway turf surrounding the downtown Civic Center, along the strand and at various other city facilities. The grass was replaced with aesthetically pleasing and more durable synthetic turf that is more resistant to pedestrians.
Though State drought restrictions are focused primarily on outdoor water efficiency, the indoor improvements to City facilities will include toilet replacement, installation of metered faucets and changing out showerheads with low-flow fixtures.
While development of the necessary infrastructure to deliver recycled water throughout Oceanside is not yet complete, the City is committing $30 million over the next 10 years to projects that will allow us to realize substantial water savings by switching many dedicated irrigation users to recycled water.
Working together, Oceanside is taking a positive and proactive approach to making water conservation a priority in our community and to making lasting changes that will lead to sustainable water savings.