In 2007 the State of California mandated reducing water usage by 20% before the year 2020. We met that State mandated water reduction goal prior to the 2014 drought declaration. In addition to the savings from the 2020 State mandate, we achieved a 29% potable water reduction in 2014 and a 38.6% potable water reduction in 2015. As of June 1, 2016, Roseville is no longer subject to mandated drought restrictions; however, the Environmental Utilities Department is asking for a voluntary 10% reduction. We plan to exceed the requested voluntary reduction by having a self-imposed 20% voluntary reduction goal. We believe we can achieve a 20% reduction while balancing the return of maintenance practices and park development projects delayed by drought. Below are strategies to achieve our 20% goal as well as a list of past projects which will assist in meeting our goal.
We will be following the recommended three days per week (June-August) watering schedule from Environmental Utilities in City streetscapes. In parks rather than the three days per week suggestion, irrigation schedules are modified for park use and based off of evapotranspiration rates (ET), plant needs and soil moisture.
ET rates provide exactly the amount of water loss through plant use and evaporation. This is measured by staff using soil probes and calculated by plant types. You may see several days of water in a row, as it is supplied incrementally to replenish what was lost. Parks staff and contractors reduce the percentage not the days of water based on ET to achieve our reduction. For example, if the ET called for 1 gallon, parks irrigates with 3/4 of a gallon. This is a much more efficient way to deliver irrigation water. Parks is able to achieve an overall reduction in water use while optimizing plant health even though you will see water on multiple days and sometimes on multiple days in a row.
Grass Conversion Program
We have converted some landscape areas from non-functional grass to drought friendly landscapes. We are actively working to find resources to further grass conversion projects. Below are the grass conversion projects we have completed since January 2015 along with the estimated water savings per year. Click on the location name for an overview of the areas that are now drought friendly versus the functional turf areas. We plan to continue long term investment in converting non-functional grass to more water efficient landscapes and to minimize use of non-functional turf in future park designs.
Alternative Water Resources
We currently use recycled water in 25% of our parks and plan to continue evaluating investment in recycled water. Recycled water is produced at both of the City's wastewater treatment facilities. Recycled water has been treated to the highest level required by the California Department of Health Services and is approved for many uses, except drinking. Because recycled water is made from water waste and isn't drinkable, it isn't subject to the reductions required from the drought. More information about recycled water is available at Roseville.ca.us/RecycledWater
Returning Maintenance Practices and Park Development During the drought we delayed many standard maintenance practices such as broadleaf (clover) eradication and overseeding turf. These practices will return this year to begin bringing parks back to established maintenance standards. Additionally, many park development projects were delayed during the drought restrictions. We plan to being work on several projects in the summer 2016. More information about upcoming park projects can be found at Roseville.ca.us/ParksInTheWorks.