Residents need to be more water-wise


Last updated 2/21/2008 at Noon

By now most Fallbrook residents know that the farmers have to ramp down 30 percent of their water usage while residential use remains unaffected. What they don’t know is that if and when residential users are mandated to cut back, ag users will be required to cut usage by 50, not 30, percent.

Currently, residential users have been asked, but not required, to cut water usage. Voluntary cutbacks now are important, because a 50-percent cutback for ag will pretty much spell the end of California farms.

Interestingly enough, an acre of residential homes uses about the same amount as an acre of farmland, so as the farms disappear, the water usage isn’t cut back, it’s simply spread out among more rate payers.

I’d like to see Fallbrook and other residential areas learn to use water more wisely. The lawns at Poet’s Square, like housing tracts everywhere, are set to irrigate those mini-lawns until the water runs in the streets. There is actually moss growing in the Poet’s Square gutters due to constant runoff. These lawns should be irrigated about once a week in the winter (and not at all during the rain) and maybe twice a week in the summer.

The advent of automatic irrigation timers has taken the common sense out of landscape irrigation. Long, slow irrigations help all plants grow deep, strong root systems. Daily irrigations, or – gasp – twice daily shallow irrigations are a huge waste of this precious resource.

Anytime the water runs off and down the gutter, the irrigation method needs some tuning. Slow the sprinklers down, aim them correctly, reduce the frequency or volume of water… but do something.

Fallbrook Public Utility District, the irrigation and pipe supply companies, nurseries, the landscapers and the homeowners all need to raise awareness of water-wise landscaping and the intelligent use of irrigation systems.

Come on, folks, let’s knock off this waste. Where are the water police? We could sure use them!

Jill Pettigrew


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