Homeowner Associations – Water Management Starts With The Contract

Equity Management held a symposium concerning the drought in California and what homeowner associations should be focused on for excellent water management. There were several great presentations including one from Jon Epsten, an attorney at Epsten Grinnell & Howell

Jon’s presentation focused on how the scope of work and contract can make a significant difference in water management. He explained how the HOA contract can be a road map for the landscape contractor by identifying the key elements of saving water. He recommends the following items be included in the homeowner association’s scope of work and contract for landscape maintenance to promote efficient water management.

 7 Water Management Tips for Homeowner Associations

  1. Contractor should review water usage on a monthly basis and report use to the board/management.
  2. Contractor should be a CLCA certified contractor. [Outside of California the contractor should be certified by your state or the Irrigation Association]
  3. Contractor should be required to monitor systems for leaks and sprinkler failures.
  4. Contractor shall regularly use a soil probe to measure soil moisture.
  5. Yearly walks of the property shall be conducted with the local water agency and contractor.
  6. Contractor should be familiar with rebate programs.
  7. Contractor should have an allowance for “routine” improvements (verified by photographs and receipts).

Jon also stressed the burden of water conservation should be placed on the contractor not homeowner association. This should include a plan for conserving water with a recommended budget of improvements needed within 90 days of starting landscape maintenance work. This gives the contractor enough time to become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the system before making recommendations.

These are excellent recommendations and appropriate for homeowner associations where water use is often one of the top three budget items. I am sure our readers might have some additional items to recommend and we’d love for you to share them in the comments section.
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