Strawberry 1 HOA-Things are Moving Quickly-Water Conservation

It is now mid-May and the water conservation project in Aurora, Colorado is moving along very swiftly.  In the last edition of this blog, the beginnings of the community garden at the Strawberry 1 at HeatherRidge community were discussed.  How quickly it has progressed!  Rabbit fence now surrounds the garden site to protect the seedlings that will soon be introduced.  Within the next couple of weeks, small herb, pepper, tomato and squash plants (just to name a few) will be planted.  Nick’s Garden Center and Farm Market, a locally owned and operated gardening shop, has offered to provide the garden with some seedlings free of charge to get us going.  We are all very thankful for the generous donation!  On May 16th, the Garden Committee will reconvene to set dates for planting and further refine the extended plan for the garden.  As always, all community members at Strawberry will be invited to attend the meeting and provide input.  The term ‘the more the merrier’ has never been more applicable.  A community garden flourishes more and more with each pair of helping hands it meets.

Elsewhere on the 56-acre property, other landscape improvements are beginning to take shape.  The entrances to the property along South Xanadu Way (at East Yale Avenue and South Worchester Way) will soon be the sites of beautiful and extensive xeriscape.  Project coordinator Alex Bergeron, The President of the Board and representatives of the City of Aurora Water Conservation Division sat down this week to establish a design for the two sites.  Drought resistant perennial flowers, hardy tall grasses, colorful shrubs and an amount of rock and mulch will replace the thirsty Kentucky bluegrass that currently covers these common areas.  In addition, an initiative to replace almost all of the existing turf grass with an indigenous High Plains grass was developed.  This grass requires almost no maintenance as it grows up to only six inches tall and does just fine with whatever water falls naturally.  After all, who would have watered it before the Denver metro area was inhabited?  The water savings from the xeric landscaping alone are very significant and will surely reduce Strawberry’s environmental impact.

The other major water conservation measure within the project is the replacement of the old and water-chugging toilets on the property.  It has been decided the replacement of toilets will come in two phases.  This year, those toilets that consume [a whopping] five gallons-per-flush (gpf) will be replaced with new ultra high-efficiency 0.8gpf models.  Because of the high volume of water consumed in these obsolete toilets from the early 1970s, they must be the first to go.  Next year, toilets consuming 1.6gpf or greater will be replaced with the help of the rebates that the City of Aurora is providing for this massive retrofitting.  After a great amount of cooperation and excitement within the community regarding this component of the project, the residential auditing to see exactly how many toilets to order is almost complete and the new models should arrive at Strawberry by the end of June.  Keep checking back to see the latest on this gigantic sustainability initiative.  Thanks for reading!