City of Carlsbad, CA Steps up Conservation Efforts

ARTICLE | Jul 2, 2015

To help meet ambitious water conservation goals, the City of Carlsbad is tearing out turf, installing new water efficient fixtures at city buildings and expanding its water recycling program, according to a report delivered at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

“We’ve already done a lot to save water, but there is always more that can be done,” said Mario Remillard, water conservation coordinator for the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. “We are asking the community to save even more water, and we want to set the example.”

On June 1, to coincide with new statewide mandatory water cutbacks, the City of Carlsbad launched a water conservation campaign to raise awareness of new water use rules and encourage greater conservation.

The water district is also promoting awareness of tools and resources, including rebates, free home water use checkups, water wise landscaping seminars and discounts on low water use plants. District staff are calling the largest water users each month to identify ways they can save and utilizing additional staff to respond to water use complaints.

On April 1, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a statewide 25 percent reduction of drinkable urban water use through February 2016. Each city has its own conservation targets set by the state. The Carlsbad Municipal Water District must reduce consumption by 28 percent.

Remillard said that the City of Carlsbad has implemented several programs over the years to conserve water and reduce consumption. Carlsbad currently has the third largest production of recycled water in the region and is planning to double the recycling plant’s capacity next year.

And the city is expecting its first delivery of drinkable water from a new drought-proof supply — the Pacific Ocean — later this year. The desalination project will provide between 7 to 10 percent of the region’s water supply.

The City of Carlsbad uses recycled water on all of its parks where it is available, which is about half of the large community parks. Where recycled water is not available, the city is ripping out select turf that is for decorative purposes only, and reducing watering for recreational fields and other park areas, according to City of Carlsbad Park Superintendent Kyle Lancaster.

The city uses dozens of “smart controllers” and water efficient irrigation systems and is continuing to upgrade its other irrigation controllers/systems. The city also has seven artificial turf athletic fields and one artificial turf event area at its parks, said Lancaster.

Drought tolerant plants are used routinely in new landscaping, and natural mulch is being used routinely in landscaped planters to retain moisture in the soil. Hundreds of broadcast spray irrigation heads have been replaced with more water efficient stream rotor spray irrigation heads.

About three-fourths of city facilities have low flow toilets. The city has plans to replace 44 more with low flow models and 106 with dual flush valves. Waterless urinals have been installed in restrooms where increased maintenance is not an issue. The city plans to replace 35 additional urinals with waterless models.

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