Committee needed to move forward with recycled water
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
It could be late this or early next year before an action plan is formed by those trying to get recycled water for landscaping in Rancho Bernardo’s public areas.
Jim Denton, who helped organize an Aug. 21 recycled water forum, said proponents will likely look to City Councilman-elect Mark Kersey for help in organizing a committee of interested parties’ representatives. Additional leadership assistance might also come through the Rancho Bernardo Community Council since it has an ad hoc committee looking into the issue.
Kersey, a Rancho Bernardo resident in the Bernardo Heights neighborhood, said he cannot officially do anything until taking office on Dec. 3, but he plans to continue learning about the issue and talking with relevant parties during the coming months so he is well informed. He added that water availability is among his top priorities and a quality-of-life issue.
“Everybody is focused on the long-term water supply,” Kersey said. “We live in a semi-arid climate … (and) control so little of our water. We import 80 percent, so from that standpoint there is a supply issue and cost issue. We ultimately have little control over either. We have seen in the last several years water rates go up while people are cutting their usage. That makes them angry … and it should.”
Bernardo Heights Country Club and Community Association of Bernardo Heights organized the forum. Both have extensive green areas that need water to maintain their appearance and have been exploring for the past few years how to get less expensive water for landscaping, Denton said.
One possible avenue — though as of now it will not be financially backed by the city — is to get Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s recycled water purple pipes in 4S Ranch extended into Rancho Bernardo. The city is not planning on bringing recycled water to RB in favor of pursuing a citywide water purification project, so officials said financing would not be provided by the city.
Denton said one way infrastructure financing might be possible — if Olivenhain agrees to the endeavor — is through a property owner assessment similar to the fee many pay as part of the community’s Maintenance Assessment District.
Besides filing with the city formal complaints over the cost of water in Rancho Bernardo when compared to those with access to recycled water, Denton said he would like to see some the Rancho Bernardo Community Council, Planning Board and Recreation Council explore the issue and perhaps include a ballot question during their next community elections to gauge residents’ support.
“This cannot be a Bernardo Heights Country Club issue but I do believe that the country club must be the driving force behind demanding resolution as it will, if it must continue to reduce its water usage, have the greatest effect on residential property values in the area,” Denton said.
- Forum to address Rancho Bernardo’s lack of recycled water
- Kaufman re-elected as council president
- Robin Kaufman re-elected RB Community Council president
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