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Watering being cut by 35%
Ripon Unified schools vow to lead by example
Lawn-watering-LT
Ripon Unified schools are cutting back watering grass that isnt part of playing fields by 35 percent. - photo by Photo Contributed

Don’t be alarmed if the front lawn at Ripon High looks a little dry and dingy.

There’s a good reason for that. In the midst of this severe state-wide drought, Ripon Unified is cutting back on watering landscape at the school sites from 30 to 35 percent.

“We’ll soon see a drastic change of color in our lawn – it’s not going to look pretty,” said Ed Tagliabue, who is the district’s Maintenance / Operations / Transportation supervisor.

On Monday, he told school board members that RUSD should set a good example to local residents and businesses in complying with the new state mandated water restrictions.

The City of Ripon adopted an ordinance not too long ago that restricts water landscaping. Those living in even numbered addresses can only do so on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday while residents with odd numbered addresses can water only on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Watering is prohibited in Ripon on Mondays and daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

While the grass won’t be any greener at the RUSD campuses, Tagliabue, who is able to regulate watering at the school sites thanks to the use of 33 controllers, said that the sports playing fields – notably, baseball, softball and soccer – will continue with their regular four-days-a-week watering schedule.

The reason for that is safety.

“The playing fields need to be maintained in order to avoid injuries (with athletes),” he said.

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Manteca Unified conservation efforts

In the Manteca Unified School District efforts started in 2009 — a full two years before the current four-year drought started — to step up water conservation.

The district’s Green Initiative that includes reducing electricity use as well as stepping up recycling calls for a 20 percent reduction of water use by 2020.

The district formed a water conservation committee six years ago.

The committee’s goal is to keep playing field and landscaping in good shape while ensuring the district’s economic stability and serving as environmental stewards of water resources.

The directives in place since 2009 include:

• Ensuring all plumbing leaks are reported and repaired immediately.

• Ground watering should only be done between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. from April through October.

• When spray irrigating, ensure that water does not directly hit buildings.

• Plant native or warm-season grasses and drought-tolerant or water-efficient plants. 

In addition outdated or damaged heads, valves, systems and controllers are replaced as budgets allow. Such improvements can significantly reduce water use when installed.

The district is also constantly reminding its staff of water saving techniques. One such tidbit is that when water pressure is too high, water mists and is lost to the air. Another is replacing worn out nozzles as they reduce distribution uniformity. This creates dead or soggy spots and wastes water.