The Sycuan Tribe has significantly reduced its water use in East San Diego County through an aggressive conservation program that includes new irrigation technology and drought-resistant landscaping at its golf resort.

The program has reduced the tribe’s reliance on groundwater at its golf resort by 25 percent and cut water use on properties within the Padre Dam and Otay municipal water districts by an average of 22 percent.

“Sycuan is committed to doing its part to conserve, reduce and reuse water throughout the reservation and our commercial enterprises,” said Chairman Cody Martinez.  “We are proud of the reductions we have achieved so far and intend to increase our efforts this year and beyond.”

Projects on the original reservation include the removal of more than 25,000 square feet of turf and replacement with drought-tolerant xeriscape landscaping or mulch; the replacement of more than 5,000 sprinkler nozzles; and the replacement of 35 irrigation clocks with “smart clocks” that self-adjust to real-time weather for more efficient use.

“We have doubled the lands irrigated with reclaimed water and converted high-water usage irrigation systems to drip, increasing efficiency from 40 to 90 percent in those areas,” said Jim Park, assistant director of landscaping. “The installation of xeriscape landscaping has further resulted in a more than 50 percent reduction of water use throughout those properties.”

The tribe plans more turf removal, connecting substantial acreage of the original reservation to newly installed “purple-pipe” recycled water, and installing a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis system to process groundwater.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.