Community | BarreraCo

Water Conservation – Save the Planet, Save Money

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Water ConservationMany states, including our home state of California, are experiencing record low rainfall this season – an event that is sure to trigger tighter water restrictions for your Homeowners Association.

But the time of year or current conditions should not dictate your decision to pursue water efficiency. The bottom line is that saving water saves your HOA money – and all communities could do with a little extra room in this year’s budget.

With that in mind, we’ve put together 4 tips to help you save water and save green.

1. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

First things first – develop a water plan that’s made for your community. If mandatory water restrictions are in place, some communities often need to participate in a designated water budget program or water only on assigned days. Water budgets typically determine a specific number of gallons per square foot, inches per year or a percentage reduction of water use. While participating in such programs, communities can typically chose to water how and when they want as long as they are meeting the terms of the water budget. An irrigation professional can help you determine the best plan for your community.

2. Not being proactive can cost you.

Proper maintenance of irrigation systems are often overlooked and categorized as an unnecessary cost. The truth is proper maintenance is one of the best ways for your HOA to save water and money.

Multiple times per year, the system should be checked for broken heads and leaks. Make sure the heads are pointing in the right direction and that the spray is not blocked by other plants or tall grass. If the water pressure is too high heads may mist or fog, resulting in water that never hits its intended target. Installing devices that regulate the pressure will help you more efficiently and effectively water your property. Look into installing high efficiency nozzles – some of which are even rebated by your local water agency. Lastly, consider replacing heads with drip irrigation whenever possible.

3. Be smart about it.

Smart controllers take into account soil type, rain fall and plant requirements to deliver only the amount of water needed. The cost and features of such controllers vary but some can be completely controlled remotely via the Internet.

Some HOAs may deem smart controllers out of their budget but all should strongly consider installing rain sensors. This affordable yet effective device simply prevents the irrigation system from watering during the rain.

Again, some water utilities provide rebates that make upgrading a no brainer.

4. Don’t make a rookie mistake.

Not all landscape professionals are created equal. In fact, many are not irrigation experts at all. It’s important to make sure that your contractors keep in mind and are equipped to help you optimize your property for water efficiency. Work with them to determine the best water schedule, appropriate plant choices and available rebates.

Read More: Water Efficient Landscape… The Easy Way!

Interested in getting a Reserve Study for your community? Click here to get a proposal!

How Effective HOAs Make New Year’s Resolutions

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Fresh StartWell, it’s that time of the year again – time to reflect on 2013 and resolve to make improvements for 2014.

But, just as you’ve set personal goals for the new year, now is the time to look ahead as a HOA (homeowners association) to form New Year’s resolutions that will set your community up for success this year.

Setting Community Goals (AKA Resolutions)

Effective HOAs constantly seek feedback and input from their homeowners. The beginning of the year is a great time to get on the same page. This year, before you get together with your board, reach out to your homeowners to determine the needs and goals specific to your community – you might be surprised at what you find. This often gives the board a fresh perspective while making owners feel included and active.

Now, take this feedback to your next board meeting for review and choose the areas most in need of improvement, define your goals and prioritize them based on need, budget, time and resources.

Next, you’ll want to distinguish between long, and short term goals. Breakup the long term goals into smaller milestones and recruit homeowners to help you reach them. If you were initially successful when seeking community feedback, this task becomes exponentially easier.

Last but not least, publicly share your community goals and your progress throughout the year. Use your community website and /or newsletter to keep everyone in the loop and up to date. The new year is a great time to reconnect but try to keep up the momentum. A good HOA’s job is never done.

We hope these tips will get your community off to a great start in 2014.

Here’s to a happy and healthy year!

Read More: 5 Homeowner Resolutions for 2014

Interested in getting a Reserve Study for your community? Click here to get a proposal!