Sunday, September 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Village Homes to tap ground water for irrigation

Gizmo sits in the shade at Parque Grande as she waits for her owner, Karen Holt, to continue their walk around Village Homes on Thursday afternoon. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | June 14, 2013 |

While water rates balloon in the coming years so Davis can pay for its share of a surface water project, Village Homeowners Association board members have decided to take matters into their own hands and drill a non-city-operated well to cut down on community irrigation costs.

While the well won’t serve individual residences and their respective indoor and outdoor watering needs, it will help temper association dues, as homeowners are already shelling out an average of $60,000 per year, combined, to water internal parks, vineyards, orchards and community gardens.

If the shallow aquifers they’ve located under their West Davis property can accommodate it, the new well initially would provide non-potable water for the association’s two thirstiest green spaces: Parque Grande and the southern community vegetable gardens.

Together, the two neighborhood amenities make up about 20 percent of the association’s overall irrigating costs.

“If we had thought about this when Village Homes was first built, we would have done this to start with,” said David Morse, who has spearheaded the project for the homeowners association.

Village Homes, developed by Mike and Judy Corbett in the 1970s, is known for its pioneering energy-efficiency features and sustainable community design.

“Just from an ecological standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to take high-quality chlorinated water for landscape. … We should have designed and plumbed things to use non-potable water, (so this) is being smart about costs, but also matching the type of water that’s needed (with the application).”

Morse estimates that the well will cost the homeowners association about $115,000, though that number could change based on the bids contractors submit in the coming weeks. He expects that, based on the anticipated savings, the association can pay off the cost of building the well in eight to 11 years.

“We’re looking at ways of being more smart and efficient with how we’re doing the landscaping in certain areas,” Morse said. “We’re looking at replacing turf with native grasses that use less water, but some areas are centerpieces of our parks and we want to keep turf that’s popular for our residents.”

The association could pay off those costs sooner if the well produces enough water and if the board opts to build the infrastructure necessary to irrigate the smaller park in the neighborhood, Parque Chico, or other vineyards and orchards.

But even if the community isn’t able to reach those other spaces, Morse expects the association to save $11,000 to $16,000 per year on irrigation in five years.

Water rates for all water customers in Davis will continue to climb in the coming years while the city begins paying off its $113 million share of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency surface water project. Once completed by late 2016, the project will pump water from the Sacramento River, treat it and pipe it to Davis and Woodland, serving as their new main sources of drinking water.

In March, two weeks after voters in Davis approved the project by an 8-point margin, the City Council elected to implement a billing system called the consumption-based fixed rate model that proportionately distributes fixed costs incurred by a water utility to water customers based on their previous usage trends.

When the rate structure was approved, some in the community worried that if larger consumers of water decided to go the way of the well, their departure from the city’s water system would transfer additional fixed costs to the rest of the ratepayers in Davis.

But according to Dianna Jensen, the city’s principal civil engineer, the city has been expecting such dropouts.

“The water conservation assumptions that were included in the rate model account for some of the larger areas converting to well irrigation,” Jensen said in an email to The Enterprise. “Each customer class had an associated conservation assumption, with the composite being about 20 percent.

“Ratepayers will not notice a difference in their water bills unless we re-evaluate the model, decide we are not generating enough revenue and then do another Prop 218 notice. We feel confident that the 20 percent conservation assumption will be adequate and we will not have to do that.”

— Reach Tom Sakash at tsakash@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash

Comments

comments

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at tsakash@davisenterprise.net, (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
.

News

Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Community Meals needs cooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Send kids to camp!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Wise words

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Awareness is key to this fight

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Where is this going?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

 
Options for protection come with flu season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

 
Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Archer will get my vote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Mike Keefe cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Building something at schools’ HQ

By Our View | From Page: A10

Don’t sell city greenbelt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Paso Fino project is flawed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Maybe David can beat Goliath again

By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

.

Sports

DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

 
Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

 
Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
.

Business

UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Styles on target for November debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

MBI hires VP of marketing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

By Rob White | From Page: A9

Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8