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Re: What Can You Say About Water?

Editor's note: This letter was written in response to publisher George Schmok's commentary that appeared in the July 2006 issue of LASN.

Dear Editor:
As the primary supplier of imported water for 18 million Southern Californians, Metropolitan Water District appreciates George Schmok's growing interest in the complexities of this subject, in which landscaping is playing a more substantial role.

The challenge of creating a sustainable water supply has grown increasingly complex since Metropolitan was formed by a partnership of Southern California communities to build an aqueduct during the Great Depression, bringing Colorado River water to Southern California. Today, with up to 70 percent of a household's water being used outdoors, landscape architects will continue to play a tremendously positive, pivotal role in conserving the future of Southern California and the Southwest. Most recently, designers are rediscovering that the region's native heritage extends well beyond cactus and succulents. With the help of Metropolitan and the Family of Southern California Water Agencies and the "bewaterwise.com" website, they're creating attractive California Friendly(TM) landscape with native and drought-tolerant plants. The results include huge savings for consumers and appealing, less-thirsty landscapes.

Landscape architects are incorporating cutting-edge irrigation techniques, using "smart" irrigation controllers, new rotator sprinklers just for smaller spaces, drip irrigation, or even separate irrigation systems that rely on recycled water for landscaping. These contributions become a crucial part of California Friendly architectural plans being developed by major homebuilders in partnership with water agencies.

At Metropolitan, we regard the provision of high-quality water as a public trust. We also understand that we cannot squander nature's gifts that we have been given. Those who design and build our landscapes are essential allies and partners in that regard, and we look forward to the continued interest of your publication in these vital issues.

Very truly yours,

Roger K. Patterson
Assistant General Manager
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Los Angeles, Calif.






Re: "A Brief Tour of Nouvelleville" by David Linstrum, Aug. issue

I was privileged to receive a prepublication copy of this (feature). WOW!!! He is right on target. He points to all that we have abandoned for the sake of our scared chariots. His concepts worked perfectly in the medieval towns, the old college campuses and more recently, after a similar housing/employment crisis in Greenbelt, Md., Greenhills, Ohio and Greendale, Wis. FDR established a Resettlement Admin. (isn't that what we need now?) in '35 or '36 and brought in Clarence Stein and Henry Wright as advisors. As Clarence Stein wrote in New Town for America, "Here, as in many other great plans, the planner's job was primarily to discover, not invent."

We should encourage students (and legislators) to look at Lewis Mumford's classic study The City in History. He concluded that if suburban planning was to be effective, a kind of municipal statesmanship should be directed toward elimination of the suburb and the building of new communities of a higher and more complete order. He echoed the views of Raymond Unwin in Nothing Gained by Overcrowding, in which he advised that by cutting down the number of streets and devoting the areas to internal gardens, playgrounds and open space, he could provide almost the same number of homes, each with more usable garden land and more gracious surroundings at the same price.

Unwin's perception that pleasant open spaces and parks and playgrounds were not an upper-class luxury, but could be incorporated without extra cost simply by savings on needless streets and utilities.

As a final thought, Venice, Italy is able to manage tourists as well as a stable community with no cars, just a railroad station and a parking lot--go take a look.

Thank you for your fine magazine.

Joe Cascio, Landscape Architect & Site Planner
Cascio Associates
Fairfax, Va.






Re: "A Furnace Called Phoenix Needs Shade" on landscapeonline.com

Shade trees in the desert? Where will they get the huge amounts of water needed to keep them alive? Phoenix is a human built environment in the desert; the solution needs to be part of the built environment. Sorry, this is not a good place for a solution using living plant material.

Rick Marley, Assistant City Engineer
City of Champaign
Champaign, Ill.






Re: "Pool Building" general comment to landscapeonline.com

The New Mexico pool builders have been dealing with the attempts by Santa Fe County to ban swimming pool construction since 1995. Not only have we been equipping pools with features designed to dramatically reduce water usage, we have also been making it easier to harvest water captured on covers and from decks to offset water loss from evaporation. Additionally, our owners are increasingly requesting that hydrants be plumbed to the pool to allow use of the pool water for fire protection in rural areas. Nonetheless, because pools are a very visible water use, this is an issue of perception rather than fact.

Your article mentions that we were not notified of the decision. In fact, we were not contacted at all prior to discussion and passage of this resolution.

Furthermore, the commission has acknowledged that perhaps this resolution was indeed done hastily without any input from the pool builders but the commission is not planning on any additional fact finding.

Linda Hermanson
Hermanson Construction, Inc.
Albuquerque, N.M.






Another Reaction to Gov. Owens' Veto of Colorado Practice Act

Editor's note: To view all comments, visit LandscapeOnline.com and search "Colo. Gov. Vetoes," then click "see all comments". There are approx. 100 comments at this time.

Gov. Owens said; "....there is no evidence the public would benefit from a state regulatory program of this profession. Imposing state regulations on this industry will create barriers to entry for future landscape architects, threatens the viability of small businesses and raises costs to consumers."--I don't know who's advising this guy, but he's getting poor guidance. It is apparent that he lives a sheltered life--like in 'under a rock'.

Generally, Colorado leads the nation in issues like this one. I'll have to reconsider our skiing trip this year; maybe Utah.

Lucien Cutrera
Baton Rouge, L.A.





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