The Water Conservation and Sustainable Landscaping Committee met every third Thursday from 1:00 to 2:30 in Multi-Purpose Room 3 at Gateway. However, all in-person meetings are temporarily suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please contact the current Chair, Richard McPherson, at RMLandarch@aol.com or phone him at (415) 290-0987 to get more information on this Committee’s activities during the pandemic.
The committee was founded in the beginning of 2015 during the fourth year of California’s recent five-year drought. Serious concerns about water waste in Rossmoor were raised at meetings of Sustainable Rossmoor (formerly Solar Powered Rossmoor) and the WCC was formed to study these water usage concerns.
The Water Conservation Committee’s first meeting in January 2015 drew a room-full. Attendees were eager to discuss ways to educate each other and the Rossmoor community about water conservation, climate appropriate landscaping, and efficient irrigation practices. These have become the main focus of the WCC, but it is also concerned with statewide water issues including water recycling, rainwater capture, and groundwater replenishment.
The WCC quickly realized the tight inter-relationships among all aspects of our environment, and expanded its focus to include the seven principles of the Bay Friendly Landscaping and Gardening Coalition:
- Landscaping in harmony with the natural conditions of the San Francisco Bay watershed
- Reducing waste
- Nurturing healthy soils while reducing fertilizer use
- Conserving water, energy, and topsoil
- Using integrated pest management to minimize chemical use
- Reducing storm water runoff and air pollution
- Protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat and diversity
The Committee is proud to count among its members a group of landscape professionals who generously share their expert knowledge of summer-dry climate landscaping, soil nutrition, and water-saving irrigation techniques. They are always helpful when landscape design questions arise.
Current and Past Projects
The group developed a continually updated list of “Low Water Use Plants Suitable for Rossmoor,” a useful compilation of low-water-use plants that are appropriate to Rossmoor’s micro-climate. It groups plants by types such as trees, shrubs, and ground-covers; and it notes their water and sun requirements and eventual size. Rossmoor’s former and current Landscape Managers cooperated with development of the list. Residents can obtain a copy of the list by sending a request to Marie Kahn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WCC members participate in workshops, attend lectures and seminars, and tour beautiful low-water-use landscapes whenever possible. They take advantage of many of the outreach programs of East Bay Municipal Utility District, the local water company.
The WCC drafted the following water-focused policy concerning exclusive use gardens on common property because several mutuals are revising their policies concerning resident maintained gardens. The group neither opposes nor favors such gardens per se; it advocates low water use plants in these and all gardens:
“The Water Conservation Committee opposes all resident plantings on common property except in permitted gardens that include only plants identified as “very low” or “low” water use in the Walnut Creek area by the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) website at http://ucanr.edu/sites/WUCOLS/.”
The Committee also hosts community-wide programs with Sustainable Rossmoor featuring MOD staff, EBMUD representatives, and Bay Area experts. They speak on summer dry landscaping, the local watershed, and water conservation practices. A past highlight was “Taking A Peek At Tice Creek” with Rebecca Pollon, MOD Landscape Manager, and Leslie Hunt, President of Friends of the Creeks.
One of WCC’s most important tasks is to continually encourage residents to report irrigation leaks and overspray on sidewalks or streets to email@example.com or 988-7650. Staff responds quickly to reported problems.