Mountain House to stop watering plants because of drought
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Mar 13, 2014 | 4598 views | 3 3 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MOUNTAIN HOUSE — In an effort to save money and conserve water, the Mountain House Community Services District Board of Directors voted Wednesday to not tear out fescue grasses in public areas and instead let the plants die naturally without watering.

General Manager Janice McClintock told the board it would cost about $51,000 to remove all of the fine fescue in the arterial medians and in areas from sound walls to the curb. She said the staff proposed tearing out fescue only in the arterial median areas for $30,000 so they wouldn’t have to water the plants, which would help with water conservation during the drought.

Director Andy Su said he was opposed to spending the money and proposed that they leave the fescue there and just stop watering it. He said they could cut back on the watering and see how it looked after a week.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of Su’s motion to deny the vegetation removal.

Director Celeste Farron, who voted against the plan, said dead plants looked ugly.

“I’m not in favor of letting it die,” she said. “If we’re going to do it, we might as well do it and make it clean.”

Farron said she didn’t think it was fair for the district to let its plants die when its own ordinance doesn’t allow homeowners to do the same thing on their properties. She said the board needed to be consistent throughout the community.

“I don’t think we should have a double standard,” she said.

Director Jim Lamb suggested that they consider just clearing the plantings leading to Mustang Boulevard in front of Mountain House High School at a cost of $15,000.

Staff member Harpal Singh said he agreed that the district should keep the Mustang Boulevard area clean and green with vegetation. He said it would look nicer for people looking to purchase houses in Hanson Village in the southern part of the community.

McClintock reminded the board that there were also 200 homes still for sale in Questa Village and that plan did not include removing the plantings for that village.

Board President Steve Gutierrez agreed with Su on a trial period of not watering.

Lamb said that he, too, agreed with Su and that residents would understand that the district was trying to conserve water.

McClintock said the staff would put up signs explaining that the community had stopped watering to conserve water during the drought.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

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March 14, 2014
so they aren't going to water the grass, but they will still waste untold amounts of water this year with the water fountain in Central Park...sorry folks, but in a drought, the fountain should be one of the first things cut off.
March 15, 2014
I would be with you if the fountain was there for purely asthetic reasons, but it is not, it is a play feature for the kids, and a heavily used one at that.

How much water does the fountain actually use, since the water is reused over and over again? Sure there is some evaporation, and some that walks away on kids, but there isnt' the waste I see with the grass where there is puddles and small streams running across the street.
March 14, 2014
I know that grass looks nice, but since California IS actually pretty consistent with the drought issues (on again off again, but always a threat)...why do we plant grass? why not plant either natural grasses and plants that know how to survive the climate here...or something like iceplant that could live through the end of the world?

it will look ugly if they don't water and don't tear it out...but perhaps people will learn some lessons from the fact that it wasn't very well thought out to plant water hungry grass in a water deficient state. and don't forget how ugly it will look when the humans don't have water to drink!

and they need to also get some new regulations in the housing area too...everyone's lawns will be looking bad this summer. hope the predictions for El Nino are right for this coming winter...we need it!

and yes, I'm doing my part...fake lawn is being installed in the back yard, front yard is small and will get minimal water. we all need to do our parts...use a bucket to catch the shower water as it warms up and water your lawn with that. :-)

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