Escondido takes steps to implement new water restrictions

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Grass sprinkler

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- State water officials Tuesday approved another 25-percent water cutback for the state and laid out the goal for each individual water agency.

In Escondido, where the goal is 20-percent reduction in water use, the city has already taken steps toward that goal, said Director of Utilities Chris McKinney. City officials are concerned about the goal, and residents wonder how they’ll be able to survive another round of restrictions.

At Grand Tree Park, every drop counts, which is why sprinklers caught the eye of property manager Barbara Fox.

“We want to keep it as nice as possible for as cheap as possible,” she said.

Fox has had maintenance crews cut back on watering, pull some trees out and abstain from power washing the property. But soon she may have to think of ways to conserve even more.

“Fortunately, Escondido has already tightened its belt. We’ve been fortunate because our city council started approving drought restrictions as early as 2009,” McKinney said.

In addition, the city is enforcing conservation with meter maids and utility workers.

“They are already out in town going to every meter in the city once a month. They’re trained to look for signs of water overuse,” McKinney said.

So far no citations have been issued. In most situations, it’s to educate.

“They have come out at least once a year to investigate,” Fox said. “I don’t think we should have to let our grass die.”

Fox says she’s doing her best to stay in compliance.

But now there’s a bigger problem: next month, a pool gets drained for maintenance. Barbara hopes the drought won’t leave it dry for good.

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