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Irvine Co. brings recycled water to six properties in last year

The switch to recycled water at apartment communities, retail centers and office complexes will save an estimated 22.5 million gallons of potable water annually

IRVINE, Calif. (April 20, 2016) — The award-winning landscape at Rancho San Joaquin Apartment Homes always has featured lakes, fountains and evergreens.

Now it features recycled water.

Irvine Company converted the community’s irrigation system to recycled water in March, saving an estimated 7.3 million gallons of potable (drinking) water annually.

The measure is part of Irvine Company’s comprehensive water conservation program from San Diego to the Silicon Valley, preserving millions of gallons of potable water each year.

Since April 2015, when Gov. Jerry Brown ordered water restrictions throughout the state, Irvine Company has converted six properties to recycled water, preserving an estimated 22.5 million gallons of potable water annually. The company will save another 17.8 million gallons each year when it converts three more apartment communities to recycled water over the next year.

“Being a good steward of our water resources is in our DNA,” says Irvine Company’s landscape water-use efficiency consultant Derek Stucki. “As industry leaders in water conservation, we have aggressively reduced our water use across our portfolio in response to the drought.”

In addition to bringing recycled water to Rancho San Joaquin, Irvine Company has found five additional ways to conserve potable water there by:

  • Installing water-efficient toilets and shower heads in each apartment home.
  • Reducing the turf footprint by more than 57,000 square feet.
  • Employing more drought-tolerant shrubs like Natal Plum and Indian hawthorn.
  • Replacing old sprinkler heads with ones that reduce water usage by 30 percent.
  • Adding “smart” controllers that track weather satellite data to reduce watering during cool or rainy times.

Irvine Company has long been a leader in the water conservation movement. In 1967, it helped pioneer the use of recycled water for landscape irrigation—a cause it has championed for nearly 50 years.

And since the 1980s, Irvine Company has installed recycled water at every retail, office and apartment community in Irvine. Now the company is exploring ways to bring recycled water to older properties and beyond – to properties in Newport Beach and the Silicon Valley.

In just the past year, Irvine Company installed dual plumbing at Newport Gateway’s twin 14-story towers in Irvine, saving 13.5 million gallons of potable water annually. And it installed dual plumbing at four Irvine shopping centers: Alton Square, Lakeside Center, Woodbridge Village Center and Irvine Spectrum Center – saving another 1.6 million gallons of potable water annually.

Bringing recycled water to older Irvine Company properties is part a comprehensive water conservation plan created by the in-house Water Conservation Task Force, charged with finding the most promising water-reducing approaches across the company’s portfolio.

Since Gov. Brown announced state-mandated reductions in water use last spring, Irvine Company has achieved significant savings by retrofitting older properties with nearly 16,000 water-efficient toilets and shower heads (saving 234.7 million gallons annually); reducing its turf footprint, introducing more drought-tolerant plants and using state-of-the-art irrigation systems; retraining staff at its resort properties on best water-conservation practices; and bringing recycled water to pre-1980s properties.