For water conservation tips and how you can do more to save our most precious resource, please visit the following websites for more information:
City's Efforts on Water Conservation
With the Governor having declared a State of Emergency with regard to drought conditions for this current season coupled with the fact that the four Murrieta water districts have, over the years, consistently increased their water rates as well as initiated a tiering system for "over" consumption, the City of Murrieta and its Community Services District has taken proactive measures to reduce its water costs and use. Staff has done this by changing out old technology with Smart Irrigation Controllers, by exchanging overhead spray systems with drip (point-to-point) irrigation, and by replacing outdated landscape with water-wise material.
Smart Irrigation Controllers
Smart Irrigation Controllers tailor watering schedules and run times automatically to meet specific landscape needs. Previous technology, no matter how efficient, still did not take into account changing weather conditions - specifically rainfall and evapotranspiration (ET) rates. ET is the amount of water lost from the soil through evaporation plus the plant's water loss, both of which are dramatically affected by weather conditions. These systems use weather information and site conditions to determine how much water to apply and when to irrigate. Weather-based smart controllers draw upon a variety of climatic conditions.
Some controllers utilize historic weather data supplemented with on-site weather data. Other controllers rely on a subscription service to download ET values daily. Soil moisture sensor smart controllers rely on the amount of moisture in the soil, measured by buried probes, to determine irrigation schedules. Once systems are installed and programmed, they usually require no additional monitoring and will irrigate the landscape at peak efficiency and at appropriate times. Over the last three years, the Community Services District has replaced over 150 old technology controllers with Smart Irrigation Controllers.
Drip or Point-to-Point Irrigation
Drip or point-to-point irrigation is an irrigation method that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. Almost no water is lost through surface runoff or evaporation, and soil particles have plenty of opportunity to absorb and hold water for plants. It also means very few nutrients leach down beyond the reach of plant roots. Furthermore, since drip irrigation delivers water directly to the plants, less is wasted on weeds. The soil surface between the plants also remains drier, which discourages weed seeds from sprouting.
Water-wise plants are those that thrive in dry conditions as well as native plant material that thrived in local conditions prior to any human cultivation. Changing out the high water-use and/or non-native plant species with water-wise material can help to significantly reduce water consumption. An example of a recent modification includes the removal of turf along a section of California Oaks Road and the replacement with shrubs that can tolerate the drier weather conditions experienced in this area. Overhead spray heads were replaced with drip irrigation in order to establish a streetscape that is aesthetically pleasing and decreases the overall maintenance and irrigation costs.
Landscape Lighting Districts
In addition, staff is making modifications in the Landscape Lighting Districts, which have their own funding sources. Examples of these projects include converting to drip irrigation in Landscape Lighting Districts for Western Pacific, Murrieta Ranchos, Lincoln Ranch, Warm Springs, Greer Ranch, Mapleton, and Murrieta Oaks.
Reductions in Turf
Although a number of areas have already been addressed, more needs to be done to lessen the impact. Staff has identified a number of projects using high quantities of water that as additional funding becomes available will result in water savings over time. A few of these projects include reductions in turf along streetscapes and within parks at the following locations:
- Rancho Acacia Park
- Streetscape along the remainder of California Oaks Road
- Streetscape along Jackson Avenue at the Colony
- Streetscape along Nutmeg Street at Via de Gema Linda
- Sycamore Park
- Valley Vista Park
- Glen Arbor Park
- Large slope areas in Saratoga Springs
- Streetscape along Clinton Keith Road
- Streetscape and slope along Club View Drive
Work is already in progress for Rancho Acacia Park as well as the streetscape along Nutmeg Street at Via de Gema Linda near Glen Arbor Park.
Report Broken Irrigation
Water is a valuable resource and the public plays an important role in minimizing waste. The City of Murrieta encourages the public to report broken irrigation by contacting the Community Services Department.