A shift in SCV attitude about water

Signal file photo

Having emerged from at least four years of drought, one in every four Santa Clarita Valley residents has changed their landscaping ways

In a recent study undertaken by the Castaic Lake Water Agency examining the attitude of SCV residents towards water and towards conserving it, survey takers found that 25 percent of the SCV community made changes to their landscaping this past year

Last year, when residents were told to water their lawns only twice a week and urged to cut their water use by 25 percent compared to what they consumed in 2013, SCV residents responded – or, at least, one in every four homeowners on your street did.

“I think that’s a good number,” said Stephanie Anagnoson, the agency’s water conservation supervisor who helped prepare the 2016 Attitude & Awareness Study unveiled this week.

“I think it shows the inclination to change is there,” she said, noting scores of SCV residents took advantage of the agency’s turf replacement program, replacing lawn with drought-tolerant alternatives.

The report is scheduled to presented Thursday to the agency’s board of directors.

Of the one-in-four people who changed their attitudes, and then changed the look of their front yards, 62 percent of those people removed or reduced the amount of grass in their yard.

At least 32 percent of those same water conservers put in plants that use comparatively low amounts of water; 10 percent got rid of their plants altogether; 10 percent built patios and decks; and 23 percent planted food producing plants – such as orange trees.

Bucking the conservation trend, however, 23 percent of SCV residents laid down more grass or sod.

Part of the agency’s push to convince residents to conserve water – and help it meet the Governor’s mandate imposed last year on water agencies to conserve water by 25 percent – was to change people’s attitudes about landscaping.

Agency staff, on the conservation front, point to the latest study as proof they did effectively change the attitude of residents – or at least one in four of them.

“There’s been a significant decline lately in the number of people now taking advantage of the turf replacement program,” Dirk Marks, the agency’s water resources manager, said Tuesday.

Although lawn-watering restrictions imposed on SCV residents have been lifted, Marks reminds SCV water users that the drought is not over.

“Because our water was stored – and the foresight in good water management – it has allowed us not to be continuing lawn-watering restrictions,” he said.

Residents and institutions who qualify for the agency’s turf replacement program receive $2 for every square foot of lawn removed from their grounds.

Emerging from a summer of drought last year in 2015 Marks told The Signal: “One of the objectives of our turf replacement program is to change the turf-centric mindset when it comes to landscaping in the Santa Clarita Valley,” he said.

“We think that planting with SCV-friendly plants better achieves that goal.”

The latest study shows that at least some turf-centric mindset has been changed.

Those interested in changing their own landscaping attitudes and want to know more about the  agency’s lawn replacement program can call 661-297-1600 or visit www.clwa.org/conservation.


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