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Palo Alto considers recycled water for irrigation

Original post made on Apr 4, 2013

Depending on which member of the City Council talking, switching to recycled water for irrigation at Stanford Research Park would either be a giant step for Palo Alto's water-conservation efforts or an ill-advised measure that would degrade the condition of the soil.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 4, 2013, 9:42 AM

Comments (9)

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Posted by Carrie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 10:31 am

Why do we have and abundance of corporate headquarters that need "heavy irrigation"? Let's re-phrase that - why does anything need "heavy irrigation"? Green lawns are inappropriate in a climate like ours. Take them out, or whatever it is that needs lots of water, and replace them with plants that don't need so much water. Why is this even an issue?

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 10:35 am

I don't really have an opinion on this other than why has this been discussed since 2007 and we won't get information until 2014?

Can't anything (other than flag flying) be done quickly in Palo Alto?

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Posted by Firstlady
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

The City might want to look at Pebble Beach as a model. Recycled/reclaimed water is used on all golf courses and resort landscaping.

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Posted by DC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 4, 2013 at 11:05 am

Agree w/ both "Carrie" and "Resident". Why not add significant additional city fees to businesses that insist on lawns/fountains/water-needy landscapes? If we solve THEIR landscaping debacles with TAX dollars, we are rewarding their poor choices and eliminating their ownership of the problem. We have been in drought conditions off and on for decades; something could have been written into statutes years ago re new and existing building and we wouldn't be having this issue come up AGAIN. The money gained in fees could be "recycled" back into the city by offering higher rebates/incentives to citizens for removing more of their own lawns and replacing with water-wise plantings. A win-win rather than a lose-lose. What do the elected officials DO if they're not at meetings where decisions are being made? Decisions initiated 6 YEARS ago? Absurd.

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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

What is prominently missing from this kerfluffle is facts. How MUCH salt is in the recycled water? What else is in it that might be an issue? If it's excessively salty, might it be desalinated at a reasonable cost?

Finally, keep in mind that basically all municipalities which are downriver from other municipalities use recycled water.

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Posted by Debbie Mytels
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm

The main reason for the lawns is that they are aesthetically attractive. But there are many attractive ground covers that are native and/or drought resistant, and these could be used to replace thirsty lawn grasses. (And they don't have to be mowed, either -- thus also reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the mowing machines.)

The City could offer rebates for changing over to low-water use plants and pay for this by charging higher rates for those who continue to use inappropriate lawn grasses.

And thank you, Mayor Scharff, for thinking about the impact of salt buildup on future generations. Perhaps in 100 years those sites in the Research Park will be needed for food growing -- and our great-grandchildren will be glad that the soils were not deadened by salts like happened to the Anastasi in the Southwest.

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Posted by The market speaks volumes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm

When our first house in PA was up for sale last spring, we advertised that the front yard had drought-resistant landscaping.

However, more than 60% of the people who came to look at our house said they really wanted a front lawn! Hate to say it, but most of those people were Chinese or Korean nationals. The people we eventually sold to we're American citizens, and they left the landscaping as is.

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Posted by weedbyhand
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Requiring the corporations to plant native grasses and ground covers would also make eliminate the so-called "need" of herbicides and pesticides that poison the earth and kill off birds pecking for worms.

I also wish that the city would ban the use of those poisons along the grass medians between the sidewalks and the curbs--just last week I saw them being sprayed by (non-city) workers.

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Posted by The market speaks volumes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Speaking of pesticides: what on earth was going on yesterday morning?? Driving south on Bryant St, there were two large trucks with signs I dictating they were contractors for the city, spraying rank-smelling pesticides on trees along the street! My car was covered with a fine mist of it!

And that Round-up they spray on the sidewalks, etc, is illegal in Connecticut and some other states because it kills birds, squirrels, etc and works it's way into the water supply as well as up the food chain.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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