Drought? Not in MY backyard

I did a stupid thing today. I emailed our HOA board about water use in our complex. We have lots of big shady trees and lumpy lawns, maintained by a landscaping company, paid for with our dues.

I gave them my suggestions, too, of how to reduce some of the turf areas:

I also gave them some resources, like our local water authority’s rebate program, which would pay $2/sqft to remove turf, and a local non-profit who partners with neighbourhood organizations to build gardens.

Why did I bother? Just got myself all worked up over their dismissive and rude reply.

If anyone else out there has power in this kind of situation, please push for change. Lawns are an outdated fashion which costs us too much.

My favourite bit of the board president’s reply?

Because burglars don’t walk on the grass! Pathetic.

We’re moving soon(ish). No more HOAs.

Don’t residents in HOA’s tend to get sued for even thinking blasphemies like that?

Well, I applaud your efforts. It pains me deep in my soul to think of all the good water North Americans waste on monoculture lawns (I take large chunks of sod out of every yard I have, top dress with drought-tolerant grass seed, add in clover seed, and do what I can to reduce my water wastage in my yard).

How can it be a good idea if we haven’t been doing it that way for the last thirty years?

Problem I see with adding paths is that, absent a redesign of the irrigation system, it doesn’t really save water. You just make the path wet with the same amount of water when the sprinklers go on.

You can redesign it to run the heads along the path and blowing outward but that’s an expensive proposition for fairly minimal gain.

There’s a guy who moved into a house on the next street over. He tore out all the shrubs and flowerbeds. Now there’s a double row of copying machines in front of the house. I don’t think he understands this whole xeriscape concept.

It’s his religion. He’s a worshiper of Xeroxes.

:smiley: Funny!

Araminty, I’d be in favor of rock garden landscaping. There’s a question of fairness in adding picnic playgrounds or pet exercise parks to areas where the residents had been enjoying empty, peaceful lawns.

We had a severe drought in Australia that only broke 4-5yrs ago, with even more severe water restrictions, and the watering of lawns and nature-strips were the first to go under the hammer. Nobody dared to have the only green block on the street (unless they had a big sign saying ‘Recycled’ or ‘Bore’ water used on this property) for fear of fines, or worse, pissing-off the neighbours.

What’s interesting though, is that since then, with water restrictions totally lifted, people still don’t water their lawns/nature strips. This year is another dry and hot one in the southern states, and grass is either in it’s last throes or already dead. By the end of this month, they’ll be dust again.

Why don’t we water? Because we now know that no matter how bad the drought is, the grass comes back! Yeah, maybe there’s a few more weeds on regrowth, but nothing that a bottle of Roundup or an afternoon of digging can’t cure.

And you’ll probably still get the evil eye from neighbours if you’ve got green and they’re cultivating dust. :stuck_out_tongue:

Kam, I lived in Melbourne from 04-06, and Bendigo from 06-07, so I know whereof you speak. Nice to hear that sensible water use continues. I wish it would bloody start here…

Moving to CA was like going back in time in terms of environmental thinking. Things Australians have been doing for decades, and don’t think twice about, are NEW and REVOLUTIONARY ideas here. Dual flush toilets, greywater reuse… Amazing.

I want to re-use my greywater, too. Maybe in my next house…

As far as grey water re-use, check the local and state laws. It is illegal to do this in some communities. The reasoning is that when you shower or wash your undies, you get a small amount of manure in the “grey” water.

In Colorado it is illegal to use untreated grey water for anything. It needs to be treated before use.

That is what I get for asking first, instead of asking for forgiveness afterward! I know better!

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. He told me he has the gray water from his kitchen sink and bathtub routed out to water his garden.

I was so impressed. “Wow, you did all that since they announced the drought here in California?”

No. He did it all during the LAST drought, in the 1970s. And hasn’t changed it since.

Right on, my friend.
Edit: I had no idea that grey water was illegal. Aw man, now I’m so disillusioned!

Hah! Funnier still is the current edict of the gummint to use as much water as we want. “Go nuts”, they said.

With reservoirs still at > 80% full at this point of summer, I’m guessing they just need us to use HEAPS so that the desalination plant in Wonthaggi might get a look-in, maybe in ten years or so…weather permitting?


I didn’t have to read any further before agreeing. :slight_smile:

Needless to say, the HOA board objections almost certainly revolve around lack of uniformity and the scariness of a non-traditional landscaping approach in which (shudder) individuality might take hold.

Even if water use did not significantly decline with the OP’s proposals (and I suspect it would - lawns typically are real water hogs), residents would benefit from a decrease in mower noise and pesticide applications.

Anyone else see “HOA” and think of Herb Oscar Anderson?

Good call - I have no idea what the local grey water laws are. For a city of over a million people in a semi-arid area, we are very late to the idea of water conservation.

Let a toner cartridge be your idol.