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Drought Forces State to Cut Back on Watering Plants at Malibu Lagoon

Some 68,000 native plants were reintroduced to the Malibu Lagoon during a nine-month restoration project that was completed last year.

Malibu Lagoon. Photo by Wendi Werner.
Malibu Lagoon. Photo by Wendi Werner.

California State Parks has dramatically cut back on watering tens of thousands of native plants at the newly restored Malibu Lagoon in the face of a statewide drought.

“We've seen a 50 to 70 percent reduction in the amount of water we've been able to use,” Craig Sap, district supervisor for the California State Parks Los Angeles District, told Video News West.

Some 68,000 native plants were reintroduced to the Malibu Lagoon during a nine-month restoration project that was completed in March, according to Sap. An irrigation system, with water from L.A. County Waterworks District 29, was installed as part of the project to make sure the plants took root and flourished, Sap said.

Normally, there wouldn't be a need for much irrigating during the winter because of rain, but not this year, Sap said.

“We've had these dry conditions and we've only had less than an inch, or maybe two inches of rain, during the period of winter and so we had to supplement more water for that,” Sap said.

The plants used to be watered twice a day for 10 or 15 minutes and now they are only irrigated once a day for three to eight minutes, according to Sap. Water usage has dropped from about 23,000 gallons per day last year to 11,200 gallons this winter, he said.

“We're trying to limit the water they (the plants) are trying to get,” Sap said. “You can see it's been wildly successful. The plants are coming in much better than we anticipated.”

The plants were introduced last winter by the project's contractor Ford E.C. Inc. and a subcontractor, Santa Barbara-based Growing Solutions.

Since then, it's been up to state parks to keep the plants alive, and only 2 to 3 percent have died, Sap said.

If it rains, a smart-sprinkler system is in place to shut off the watering for that day, he said. There are plans to take out the irrigation system after this summer, but that will be decided in the coming months, according to Sap.

Statewide, California State Parks is looking for way to reduce water use by installing more water-efficient equipment.

--City News Service
Stuart Ebert February 15, 2014 at 12:17 AM
The ultimate solution to California's water supply crisis is to restore the climate to what it was 30-40 years ago. Anything less is really a band-aid treatment. Current conditions are way more than a "drought" that will self-correct in a few years. This is the real deal and is nothing less than a catastrophe. Obama finally hinted a the seriousness today. If we don't restore the climate the government will have to intervene with a drastic program of climate engineering - and it won't be pretty. Looking a this whole "Polar Vortex" story I think the engineered weather has already started.

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