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Camrosa Water Heroes

The Felipe Family: Landscaping Choices Make All the Difference

Lisa Felipe of Camarillo considers water conservation a family matter. She and her husband, Mark, plus their three children Hunter, 13, Lily, 11, and Harrison, 10, all do their part to make sure the family doesn’t waste water. Along with some major landscaping changes, the family’s vigilance helped reduce their water usage by a whopping 32%!

Lisa’s approach to conservation began with a thorough review of her irrigation system and the amount of watering time at each station. Three areas of concern emerged as major water guzzlers in her yard. Lisa tackled each one in turn with the help of her landscaper, Martin, and some creative thinking.
The first area was her driveway and walkway, which were paved with flagstone and featured grass filling in the gaps between the stones. She removed all of the “filler” grass and replaced it with small, decorative pebbles. This turned out to be a significant water saver.
outdoor living space
Another area of concern was the lawn area in her backyard. Lisa was shocked by the amount of water it used, and she was determined to make a change. She took out half of the grass and replaced it with decomposed granite, creating a beautiful outdoor living area. Drought-tolerant flowers and plants surround the area, providing color and variety to the space.

The final step for Lisa and her family involved a large amount of grass behind their home. They stopped watering that area entirely, letting the grass go fallow while they explore landscaping alternatives. “I’ll enjoy figuring out what to do with that space now,” she says.
grassy area
Over the years, Lisa took advantage of landscape survey programs as part of her conservation efforts. She also replaced her sprinkler nozzles with water-efficient ones (Click here for information on how you can get them for free). But it was Camrosa’s call to action to reduce water usage that spurred her creativity and resourcefulness, and she didn’t consider it a burden. “I thought of it as a creative challenge to make a change,” she states. Her mentality is one of conservation as a lifestyle, rather than a reaction.

Lisa considers good stewardship of water and other resources part of her duty as a parent. “I want my children to understand their impact on the environment,” she says. Her children’s appreciation of natural resources is important to Lisa. She helped start a school garden, and all three children were on their schools’ respective “green teams”. “If children understand natural resources,” she says, “they can be leaders in managing them.”

Despite her major yard changes and the significant reduction in water usage, Lisa still isn’t finished. “My yard is beautiful, but in a different way now,” she notes. “I want to see how much we can do with as little water as possible – and that’s a work in progress.”

Michael G.: Incremental Change and Vigilance Yield Big Results

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the difference. Camrosa customer Michael G. did a fantastic job of achieving a 39% reduction in water usage compared to 2013. Through a combination of minor adjustments and paying close attention to water usage on his property, this homeowner is a model for other customers to show how small efforts can really add up!
Michael began his water usage monitoring through becoming familiar and comfortable with his irrigation system. Camrosa District Planner Ian Prichard says this is a great first step. “An irrigation system shouldn’t be so confusing for people that they just give up on using it. Don’t set it and forget it – read the owner’s manual and contact the manufacturer if you have questions. Gardening and home improvement stores can also be great resources for information. Irrigation schedules are meant to change as weather patterns shift.” A useful irrigation calculator can be found here.

Sprinkler Based on what he observed in his yard, Michael made adjustments to the system accordingly. For example, he reduced the amount of time for watering if he noticed that there was runoff, which was an indicator of ground saturation. He also paid close attention to weather forecasts, ensuring that the irrigation was off before and during rainy weather.

In addition to being vigilant about the irrigation system, Michael became familiar with the types of plants in his yard and capped off sprinkler heads for those that required little or no water. Click here for information about drought-tolerant landscaping. He also referred to the Camrosa Web site conservation page for water conservation tips and implemented some of the advice he found there.
drought tolerant plants
Michael also was vigilant about checking for leaks and reviewed his 2.5-acre property regularly for broken pipes. Finally, he reduced or stopped watering his trees once they became established.

Indoors, Michael makes sure he washes full loads of laundry, runs the dishwasher when it’s full, and takes shorter showers. “I make every last drop count,” he says. Great job, Michael!

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