City of San Marcos Does its Part to Conserve
In response to the Level 2 Drought Alert, the City of San Marcos has put Mandatory Level 2 conservation measures in place that will remain active until drought conditions improve.
Mandatory Level 2 Conservation Measure Splash pad closures
In order to comply with these state and regional restrictions, the City of San Marcos closed all splash pad water features at City parks beginning Friday, August 1. The splash pads will remain closed until drought conditions improve. By closing the splash pads, the City anticipates saving between 8,100 and 12,150 gallons of water per day. Parks affected by the splash pad closures include: Sunset Park, San Elijo Park, Buelow Park, Mulberry Park and Discovery Lake Park.
Reducing irrigation schedules
To further conservation efforts, the City is adjusting irrigation schedules and cutting back on watering in all San Marcos parks and other landscaped public spaces like center medians, street parkways and trails by 20 percent. This includes all areas supplied by City-owned groundwater wells.
Fountain features shut off
City Hall’s two fountain features have been shut off until further notice. The fountain at Woodland Park pond has not been shut off because the water feature is an integral to maintaining the pond water quality, is fed by well water and the pond water is re-circulated as the supply for the irrigation of the park landscape.
Call out box?
Report Water Waste
Residents can report instances of water waste in public spaces like parks, trails and medians by completing an online Water Waste Report Form or calling the City’s Public Works Department at (760) 752-7550, ext. 3331. To report instances of water runoff into streets, sidewalk gutters or storm drains from public or residential areas please call the City’s Stormwater hotline at (760) 481-3878.
Additional Current Conservation Efforts
In addition to the Mandatory Level 2 conservation measure, the following efforts are currently in place.
High efficiency sprinklers
Since 2010, the City’s Public Works Department had retrofitted approximately 3,300 conventional sprinkler spray heads with high efficiency sprinkler heads, resulting in 30 percent less water use and reduced runoff waste. This year alone, the City’s Public Works Department continued its water saving efforts by installing nearly 1,400 new rotator nozzles in turf areas and medians. Five new SMART controllers covering 7.5 acres were also installed to make real-time adjustments based on weather information to avoid water waste.
Drip irrigation is the targeted, intelligent application of water, that when used properly can provide great benefits. Based on the City’s Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, all new median and parkway landscapes are being installed using drip irrigation. Additionally, more than a third of the City’s maintained areas utilize drip as the primary irrigation source.
Native/Drought tolerant plants
Native and/or drought tolerant plants are being used extensively in new public space landscaping projects. Plant selection includes species like Agave hybrid ‘Blue Glow’, Agave hybrid ‘Blue Flame’, Cape Rush, California Meadow Sedge, Cypress Blue Flax Lily ‘Tangerine Beauty’, Chilean Mesquite ‘Thornless’ and Chinese Pistache ‘Sierra Gold.’ Recent projects that used native and/or drought tolerant landscaping include the Montiel Park expansion; Tiger Way and Autumn Drive in the Richmar area; Buelow, Sunset and Connors Parks (other than the turf areas); the Barham Drive Urban Trail (along the CSUSM frontage); Campus Way (next to the Quad) and medians on South Rancho Santa Fe Road.
Irrigation water audits
The City requires water audits prior to the acceptance of public landscaping projects. Certified city staff are also performing water audits of existing maintenance projects and public parks to improve irrigation efficiency.
Planned water conservation efforts and irrigation runoff management
Below are a few of the planned water conservation efforts here in San Marcos.
Retrofit public landscapes
Street medians, parkways and city-maintained facilities will be systematically upgraded—as budgets allow—to install drip irrigation and native and/or drought tolerant landscaping. The older, less efficient areas will be targeted first and attention will be paid to assure compatibility with adjacent landscape architecture. The Town Center turf grass medians and parkways along San Marcos Boulevard will be converted to a drought tolerant meadow grass landscape with permeable edge treatments and drip irrigation. Other medians and parkway spray irrigation will be converted to high efficiency sprinklers and/or smart controllers as grant funds are available. Landscaped areas funded through local community facilities districts (CFDs) will be gradually converted to more efficient irrigation components and native/drought tolerant plant materials as funding is available within those individual CFD zones and/or those components need replacement.
Retrofit fixtures in City buildings
Over the next two years the Real Property Services Department plans to replace the remaining 110 lavatory faucets with automatic shutoff/low-flow faucets, install low-flow shower heads and aerators at all fire stations and at Public Works. Time-controlled showers at other select facilities will also be installed. Click here to view the City’s Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. For more information about the City’s water conservation efforts, please contact the Public Works Department at (760) 752-7550, ext. 3331.