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Palm Desert Resort began introducing desert landscaping into the community's common areas about two years ago, according to Ed Kraus, the association's president.

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California's Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance AB1881 was approved in Sept. 2009 and goes into effect Jan. 1 2010. 1881 mainly takes aim at new construction, commercial landscapers and using appropriate irrigation technology (drip irrigation, irrigation controllers, etc.) Under the legislation, existing landscapes and irrigation systems will not require retrofitting.

In June 2009, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments in Southern Calif. convened representatives from eight valley cities, five local water purveyors, Riverside County and the Building Industry Association's Desert Chapter. The representatives met to craft a water-efficient landscape ordinance to not only meet the state requirements, but tailor it to the arid climate and water conservation needs of the Coachella Valley. The reps opted to use the existing Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) ordinance as a valley wide standard. CVWD's landscape ordinance requires all new landscaping to include efficient irrigation systems and design elements to eliminate water runoff and overflow. This landscape ordinance is considered a model that all cities in the valley can use to meet the state's new water efficiency requirements.

Palm Desert, which is within the CVWD, is known for its immaculate golf courses. Those miles of manicured turf and the non-native flowering plants sometimes used in these settings to add beauty are antithetical to the desert climate and flora. However, the club homeowners' association of the Palm Desert Resort began introducing desert landscaping into the community's common areas about two years ago, according to Ed Kraus, the association's president.

This summer, for instance, the association installed a strip of desert landscaping along the curb in front of 40 homes. Kraus asserts water use on the street is down one half, and the desert landscaping at the club will save the association as much as $10,000 a month on its water bills for common areas.

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May 19, 2019, 8:16 am PDT

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