Water conservation is a major issue, especially in California. Water utilities across the State are struggling with many challenges including issues of water supply and water demand. With that said, Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co. (AVR) has partnered with many members of the community especially customers and Apple Valley schools to foster water conservation with amazing results. One such example is low water use toilets in our homes and in our schools.
In 2014, 200 of Rancho’s customers traded-in their traditional 3.5 gallons per flush toilets for 1.6 gallons per flush high efficiency toilets (HETs). Between 2012 and 2014 Ranchos’ customers installed 500 HETs, which is an estimated savings of 3.6 million gallons of water per year. Norma Armenta, Water Conservation Coordinator for Apple Valley Ranchos, touched on why low water use toilets matter. “Our first priority is saving our precious resource. We need to do everything possible to reduce our water usage, especially since we’re in the midst of a historic drought”.
In December of 2014, Ranchos partnered with Granite Hills High School, the Mojave Water Agency (MWA), EcoTech Services and a group of 50 Granite Hills High School students to provide 200 HETs on a first come-first serve basis. The high school parking lot was transformed into a distribution center, where students checked-in customers and loaded the toilets into their vehicles. For their efforts, the Community Service Branch of Skills USA, which the students are a part of, received a contribution of $1,000 from EcoTech Services and AVR.
“Because of the opportunity given to the students to assist, they feel more like a part of the community”, said Granite Hills Principal, Chuck McCall. “We thank Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, Mojave Water Agency and EcoTech Services for allowing us this opportunity. We’re happy to be a part of this program that provided our students a unique and positive experience they can build upon.”
Ranchos also partnered with the Apple Valley Unified School District (AVUSD) and retrofitted 176 urinals at schools throughout the district. This project equates to an estimated savings of 925,000 gallons of water per year. In addition to the urinal retrofits, the school district also participated in the Cash for Grass program and removed nearly 9,200 square feet of grass. Thomas Hoegerman, Superintendent for the Apple Valley Unified School District, spoke about the conservation efforts throughout the district and the role Ranchos served in these efforts. “We’ve worked with Ranchos, specifically around water conservation, starting with the non-flush urinal project at Granite Hills High School,” said Hoegerman. “We just completed installation (again through a grant provided by Ranchos) of very low flush urinals at the other school sites to reduce the amount of water that we are using. We have also worked with Ranchos on strategies to reduce our grass watering, so we have actually worked on some xeriscape plants with their help and support.” Currently Ranchos is working with the MWA to install a desert plant demonstration garden at the Victor Valley Museum.
The High Desert community, especially Ranchos customers have shown just how important water conservation is, with a focus on the popular Cash for Grass program. Sponsored by the MWA, the program is offered to all water agencies in the Victor Valley. To date, over 7 million square feet of turf has been removed throughout the entire Victor Valley and over three million square feet alone has been removed from Ranchos customers, which still boasts beautified yards that include low water to drought tolerant xeriscape. “I enjoy seeing these conversions made,” said Armenta. “It’s not going to just be rock and cactus. There are drought tolerant and low water use plants that bloom beautifully and adapt very well to the High Desert.”
To learn about xeriscaping, as well as the many other conservation tips and tools, make plans to attend Apple Valley Ranchos’ Fourth Annual Spring Conservation Fair on Saturday, May 2nd. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is located at Lions Park on Outer Highway 18 North in Apple Valley. It’s a no cost event and there will be workshops, landscape experts to answer questions, drought tolerant and desert adaptive plant displays. Food, drinks and plenty of festivities for all ages will also be available. Representatives from Ranchos will be present to answer your questions … anything from engineering to billing.
To obtain more information on the Spring Conservation Fair and water conservation programs, please contact Water Conservation Coordinator Norma Armenta at (760) 240-8329 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co. (AVR) – AVR delivers reliable, quality water service to about 63,000 people, in the Town of Apple Valley and parts of San Bernardino County. AVR is a subsidiary of Park Water Co., based in Los Angeles County, which provides contracted and regulated water utility services. In addition to AVR, Park Water owns Mountain Water Co. serving Missoula, Montana. AVR and its subsidiaries provide safe, reliable drinking water service to approximately 300,000 people. Additional information about AVR can be found by visiting www.avrwater.com.