Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company’s (Ranchos) second annual Spring Conservation Fair brought together more than 400 community members who wanted to learn more about water conservation and the value of water as a precious resource while also having some fun. Attendance at this year’s event more than doubled last year’s turnout.
While the clean air, high-desert climate and topography of Apple Valley make it a perfect place for raising children or retiring, drought can have a significant impact on the region’s water supply. In the high desert, conservation is necessary and is not just about saving water from the shower to use for watering plants – it’s about learning how to use high-desert resources, such as rocks, sand and desert-adaptive, drought tolerant plants, to create appealing landscaping.
The Apple Valley Ranchos Spring Conservation Fair also brings awareness to the value of water by helping participants understand what it takes to provide high-quality water to Apple Valley residents and businesses. As an example, participants learn that Ranchos must continue to invest in infrastructure, groundwater wells, maintenance and other system upgrades to ensure the water supply is safe and reliable.
“The conservation fair is one way of encouraging residents to appreciate the value of water, a limited, life-essential resource,” noted Daylyn Presley, Ranchos Public Information Officer. “It’s a very cost-effective way to educate a lot of people at one time and an optimal venue for talking about the conservation and infrastructure investment issues facing the water industry.”
To increase attendance at this year’s fair, Ranchos chose an easily accessible, shady park in the heart of Apple Valley. Participants took part in workshops on conservation gardening, landscaping and irrigation, understanding water quality, how to install low-flow toilets, the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals, how to read a water meter and pool safety. They also enjoyed the water conservation demonstration garden, vendor and food booths, raffle prizes and welcome bags. Activities for children of all ages were available, including poster and essay contests.
The conservation fair is just one way Ranchos connects with residents. In addition to educating residents about conservation, Ranchos conducts water audits and pays residents to transform lawns to desert friendly, drought-tolerant landscaping or artificial turf through the Cash for Grass program. This program culminates in the People’s Choice Awards, which are presented at the conservation fair where attendees vote on the entries. Ten properties were displayed at this year’s fair.
According to Norma Armenta, Ranchos Water Conservation Representative, “This Spring
Conservation Fair couldn’t have happened without the community and business partners and sponsors. This was a true community collaboration to celebrate desert landscaping and conservation. It also was a way for vendors and participants to gain visibility, elevate their brand equity and be seen as leaders in the green movement.”
“By immersing residents in an environment that is all about conservation and making it fun and inviting,” said Armenta, “they are likely to invite their neighbors next year. Word-of-mouth can be a powerful and cost-effective communication vehicle.”