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Town may turn the faucet down
Written by {ga=tsteers}   
Wednesday, 23 April 2008 13:33

Halting pool construction and banning turf in new construction were among water conservation restrictions presented by Clarkdale town staff during a work session Tuesday, April 22.

Clarkdale Community Development Director Sherry Bailey presented the Clarkdale Town Council with a draft water conservation ordinance she said could be considered very strict and cause chatter in the community.

“You’re going to see some things that are certainly out of the norm in Clarkdale,” Bailey said.

The ordinance would apply to all residents of Clarkdale — even if they don’t use city water or sewer — or anyone using city utilities, according to Bailey.

Restrictions apply to new construction or building where there is a change of use.

No new lawns or construction of outdoor swimming pools were among possible restrictions.

Turf, other than in parks, should be banned in both new residential and commercial construction, Mayor Doug Von Gausig said. Bailey’s program allowed for limited amounts of turf in backyards and surrounding commercial structures.

Councilwoman Patricia Williams agreed.

“This is the desert and no one seems to get that,” Williams said. Lawns aren’t natural in the desert. Arizona yards should include cacti and rock gardens.

“You’ve got to start someplace and bring a little common sense to the area,” Williams said.

Bailey’s presentation also included a ban — across the board — on construction of new outdoor pools.

Richard Deinhart, Clarkdale resident and soon-to-be councilman, said if the town bans swimming pools it can say good-bye to the possibility of a developer ever building a hotel in Clarkdale.

Town Manager Gayle Mabery said that not accommodating the lodging expansion puts a damper on the town’s attempt to market itself as a tourist destination, which means lost tax dollars.

Williams said there shouldn’t be any exceptions and pointed out that a pool at a new hotel would use additional water along with putting more stress on the town’s water supply in general.

Bailey said next time she presents to council she plans to give them options to change the pool ban.

The overall water conservation approach Bailey presented consisted of a three-step program — aggressive capital improvement project campaign to replace leaky infrastructure, implementation of conservation ordinances and public education programs.

Leaking infrastructure can account for a large amount of water to be lost, Bailey said, and the new plan aims to reduce losses to less than 10 percent.
Mabery said the town doesn’t know the current amount lost to faulty systems.

Second, Bailey’s presentation included an ordinance that places restrictions on water use.

Evaporation coolers would be banned, rainwater collection mandated, retrofit plumbing fixtures required, landscaping regulated and potable water use restricted under the ordinance presented by Bailey.

Von Gausig raised concerns related to rainwater collection.

Arizona isn’t the right place to collect rainwater, Von Gausig said. It only rains a couple of times a few months out of the year. Therefore, water is abundant part of the time and scarce the other. Von Gausig said, as a biologist, he’s worried native plants would adapt to receiving large amounts of water while collection supplies lasted but then suffer during the dry times.

Bailey said the rainwater collection plan, which requires a certain amount of water to be collected dependent upon the size of a home, is based on an Albuquerque, N.M., ordinance. Data from Albuquerque will be presented to council at a later date, Bailey said.

Proposed residential landscaping requirements include front yard vegetation limited to native plants and those requiring less than two years to establish.

Bailey said the town’s Community Development Department plans to hold numerous public meetings to gather input from residents and again meet with council before presenting a program for the council to adopt.

Trista Steers can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 129, or email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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