The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, Equity Realty and Four Seasons Landscape and Property Services collaborated to create an efficient water system for the Promenade at Town Center Apartments — one that is expected to save millions of gallons a year.
The organizations gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony last week. Cut by Rachel Vooijs, the general manager of the Promenade, the red ribbon signified a start of a sustainable investment for the complex — a new landscape.
The water-conscious initiative will result in saving nearly 9 feet of water per square foot, per year.
According to Matt Dickens, the sustainability manager at SCV Water, cool-season grass often absorbs up to 12 feet of water per square foot per year, but with this new drought-tolerant landscaping, one should expect approximately 3 feet and 6 inches of water to be utilized.
In addition, “drought-tolerant, California native and California friendly plants use about 3-4 feet annually,” Kevin Strauss, communications manager at SCV Water, wrote in an email.
Along with water-saving efforts, plants were deliberately selected for the benefit of the ecosystem. Those chosen include the narrow leaf milkweed, a plant that is known for the growth of the monarch caterpillar, as they feed on it, according to Dickens.
“The Town Center Promenade apartments approached us about a year ago looking to convert what was once about 80,000 square feet of cool-season grass to a drought-tolerant, climate-appropriate sustainable landscape facility for its residents,” Dickens said. “They participated in our lawn replacement program rebates, where we fund $3 per square foot for every square foot of grass removed [and] 75 cents for every square foot of drip irrigation put in. [There’s also] a bonus for features such as using native plants.”
Dickens said the apartment complex was using a lot of water and not receiving much benefit from such a hefty usage. While there is often a misconception that a dog park needs grass, the Promenade’s Bark Park does not use any. In addition, in the center of the landscape is a revamped playground with refurbished pieces.
“This [landscape] uses 87% less water per year … A lot of folks say that dogs need grass, but you can see that they still have [a great place] to run around. [The area] is safe for kids, dogs can run, families can enjoy activities,” Dickens said. “Meanwhile, enjoying native landscapes that really mimic and reflect our community in our climate [is important].”
Dickens stands behind the conservation initiative, and hopes to expand it throughout Santa Clarita as time goes on.
“We just want to thank [Promenade at Town Center Apartments] and their corporate management firm for being a conservation champion. This [is the] effort that we have to [execute in order to] make our community more water efficient, more sustainable and [more] prepared for a drier future,” Dickens said.
Chad Heydorn, the regional facilities manager at Equity Residential, spearheaded the operation and relayed a statement from Equity Residential: “We are very pleased to celebrate our recently completed landscaping project at the Promenade at Town Center, our 564-unit garden style property in Santa Clarita,” the statement reads.
According to the statement, a drip irrigation system was installed to maintain the trees, plants and shrubs planted. The property previously had “inefficient irrigation systems,” resulting in a new design that would be much more effective.
“This change will allow the area to be more tolerant to water scarcity and reduce water use, while also enhancing and preserving outdoor amenities for residents,” the statement reads.
The irrigation meter, “is estimated to save … 2,826,888 gallons per year … [which is] enough to put a football field under 8.7 feet of water,” according to the statement.
Brendon O’Steen, the director of operations of Four Seasons Landscape and Property Services, said the project took nearly three months.
“The redesign of the park involved the removal of nearly 2 acres of grass and the installation of new recreation areas, walking paths, play areas, smart irrigation management, and beautiful drought-tolerant landscape throughout,” O’Steen wrote in an email. “We are excited to have partnered with Equity Residential and SCV Water in creating a space that can be well used by their community and be one of the most water-efficient parks in the valley.”