As we all know, California has been battling a progressively worsening drought for the past 4 years. So much so to the point that Governor Brown deemed it necessary to declare a state of emergency in January of 2014; a declaration that is still in place today. Water conservation, as a result, has been harshly regulated, and restrictions and fines for communities and HOAs are commonplace for those who overwater.

If you live in an HOA, then there is a good chance that your governing body has discussed certain plans of action to deal with the water crisis. It’s a large issue, and there certainly isn’t one great, over-arching solution. Instead, the best strategy is a multi-pronged one. Let’s take a look at some easy (and fairly obvious) ways your HOA can help conserve water in your community.

  1. Water Less Often

This seems obvious, but it would foolish to omit it from the list. Many HOAs have water restrictions already in place to ensure this. But there are a few water conservation strategies that will help you move this along faster.

Many people water too much as it is, and according to the EPA, almost 50% of water used for landscaping is wasted and evaporated as runoff. Play around to find the right balance. Start small and infrequent and see how your plants respond, and then water when you see that your lawn in suffering again. Your HOA should consider an “as needed basis” policy for watering if is hasn’t already done so.

  1. Treat Your Plants Differently

Different plants need different levels of watering. Shrubs, for example, are hardy and don’t need to be watered often. Grasses need a relatively constant supply. Do your research and know how much your specific plants need so you can water them accordingly. Also consider having your HOA amend certain restrictions on what types of plants and grasses are allowed. If you’re not a fan of artificial landscaping, then consider investing in plants that need minimal water to decorate your home. There are several breeds of grasses and countless types shrubs that perform well in arid climates, and they’ll stay healthy for the long haul.

  1. Do Constant Maintenance

Have your HOA schedule checkup for the watering systems in the neighborhood. Countless tons of water are lost every year due to leaks, improper settings, and general negligence. As the enforcement body of the community, make sure your HOA is staying on top of its water conservation.

  1. Rethink Automated Watering Systems

In times of plenty, using a scheduled sprinkling system seems like a no-brainer in terms of keeping your yard healthy and metering with convenience. If automated sprinkler systems are commonplace in your neighborhood, consider talking with your HOA about having some experts come in assess their performance, and see if there are any adjustments that need to be made for watered public areas.

View a visit from an expert as an investment. Having a full assessment done about the water habits of the community can really pay off in the long run, and it can help you better understand how to save money, save your lawn, and do your part.

Unfortunately, we don’t know how long the drought is going to last. But with very little sign of letting up, it’s important to plan responsibly for the future. Talk to your HOA about implanting some new strategies to help control water usage, and you’ll community will be better for it.