February 17, 2016

We are in a drought. The recent rainfall hasn’t changed that. The Staff recently pointed out that about half of the urban water in California is used for landscape irrigation. Substantial water savings can be gained by proper landscape design, installation and maintenance. The Staff report to COWncil recommended that the Town adopt one of several model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinances (MWELO).

Before telling COWs what they must do, it would be nice to know what the COWncil has asked of staff to control the Town’s own use. Every little bit helps and so have they changed their landscaping and maintaining practices? Are they working with Redwood City to bring recycled water to Town? Have they looked into Black Water use and discussed with the County changing ordinance’s to allow it?

We support the idea that fairness requires that standards need to be set for new installations so that water can be conserved but more importantly the Town should take positive steps to encourage conservation.

We applaud the fact that the Town wants to encourage the use of grey water. How about publishing tips on how to safely and practically install and use grey water? How about encouraging increased irrigation efficiency with incentives such as waiving fees for landscaping and irrigation improvements and approval for the installation and construction of increased onsite stormwater/rainwater capture and retention systems? How about making sure staff is trained to answer questions and give over the counter approval.

The Town should encourage use of drought resistant plants but it sure should not tell COWs what plants to have their own gardens. It is OK to provide a water budget and as long as COWs can keep to the budgeted amount then they should have plants they want. How about publishing lists of drought resistant plants that would thrive in Woodside and how to maintain them?

Our Town leaders should ask what the Town can do to help us achieve our goals before they ask how to mandate what we should do.

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