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MAILBAG: Concerns about water regulations

September 16, 2009

To the City Council and City Manager Mike Flad, I read about your actions regarding mandatory landscape watering (“Stricter water limits take another step,” Sept. 2) and wish to provide some information for your consideration prior to your second reading. In Burbank, many single-family homes are not constructed on flat lots. Ours is a good example of a home that was built in 1928 on a lot that was not graded in front, but instead sits high up off the street with a steep incline where our front lawn existed when we purchased our home and most likely since it was built.

Watering our front lawn for 10 to 15 minutes at once merely creates runoff onto the sidewalk and street because of the hill.

However, watering the parkway that has been raised by the large roots for 10 to 15 minutes creates similar runoff and water waste. We have no rear lawn but many plants and trees. In 1981 and ’82 we planted more than 125 azaleas and camellias, along with ferns, gardenias and 20 small trees.

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In the rear, because our lot is slightly higher than our neighbors’, if we leave the sprinklers on more than five minutes, the rear yard puddles and drains over to our neighbors. These other homes were built probably in the 1940s. So neither the front nor rear yards are good candidates for a 15-minute watering cycle.

I’m sure you are asking, “Why is this is important? You can still water with a hose whenever you want.” This is true if you are young, healthy and have no disabilities, but what about seniors and people like myself who have serious respiratory issues and cannot handle standing out in the heat with a hose?

Our watering schedule is currently five minutes on each sprinkler station every other day in the summer, fewer in winter. This works really well except for those days when the temperatures reach around 90 degrees. Then the flower beds need to be either watered with a hose, or the sprinkler system run manually for another five minutes after 6 p.m. There would be tremendous water runoff waste if we were to change our sprinkler schedule to 15 minutes for three times a week as you have approved, and many of our plants would die without the sprinklers on hot days.

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