| Filed under

The Community Services District and the Rancho Murieta Association are at odds about providing water to a new playing field, and they differ about the size of the field as well. CSD General Manager Joe Blake contends the field occupies four acres, and CSD water hook-up fees of close to $190,000 have been triggered for metering, water augmentation and water treatment capacity. RMA General Manager Greg Vorster maintains that RMA has permission from the CSD to use metered water from Stonehouse Park on a temporary basis to irrigate a field that occupies less than an acre of the 14-acre Escuela site.

"They’re going to give us payment and we can deal with the terms very quickly because there'll be no water for what they want to do, but more importantly, they need to honor their agreement," Blake said at the August CSD board meeting. "…The state requires … you cannot hydro-seed now during the drought until October. They went ahead on their own and hydro-seeded. So that’s one issue. The second is there was an agreement to put in a secondary metering system for the ball practice field, which RMA swears is one acre. It’s four acres, I walked it off. That’s the second issue.”

Asked to comment later in the week, Vorster said the field was hydro-seeded prior to the state drought declaration and there is no prohibition on hydro-seeding in CSD water use requirements.

“I explained to (Blake) that we’re using a hybrid Bermuda that can only germinate in hot weather,” Vorster said. He described the turf as a “more drought-tolerant grass than what we typically use.”

RMA board goals for the site last year included adding a paved perimeter path bordered by mitigation trees and a lacrosse field.  “Since this is a temporary field, we were going to be allowed to use the water for the Stonehouse site and once we determined a permanent use for that site, then we would talk about paying for that meter," Vorster said.  "And that’s what our discussion was and that’s what our agreement was.”

Stonehouse field

Is the new field on Escuela four acres or closer to one acre?

A letter dated June 5, 2013 to Vorster from former CSD General Manager Ed Crouse reads, "The District will allow the use of a temporary water service connection to the existing pressurized irrigation system at Stonehouse Park to serve the proposed new lacrosse field on the Escuela site. … Once a permanent use is created at the site, the District will require a separate water service connection and meter. … The Improvements Committee reviewed your request on June 4, 2013 and concurs with the above approach for water service."

The letter refers to the dimensions of the field as "approximately 200 feet x 300 feet." The field was scaled down after RMA went to the county, Vorster said.  “We originally went to the county for a grading permit. They wanted us to spend probably about $18,000 on permit fees, and so we scaled it down to less than an acre, so no grading permit was required.”

Checking with a tape measure found the finished field measures roughly 180 by 110 feet, about a half acre.

At the CSD meeting, Blake said RMA had "already exceeded their EDU allocation." Vorster said water use for the Escuela field is accommodated within the 15 EDU allotment for Stonehouse Park.

When asked about RMA water use, Blake replied that "the RMA has exceeded their allotment for the community in terms of water that they received from the district. Individually, in one area or another they haven’t, but you have to look at the sum total of what they’re doing."

Vorster produced a spreadsheet of RMA's potable and raw water use from March 2013 through July 2014 in response. It shows a year-to-year overall reduction in water use of 28 percent.

RMA acquired the Escuela property in 2012 after RMA members rejected a plan to finance and build a community center and pool complex there. The purchase was made for $200,000 using funds the RMA reserved for its future contributions to the parks fund. The site was rezoned as common area by the county, and the Parks Committee designated it an extension of Stonehouse Park in the parks matrix.

One of the goals the RMA board has set for 2015 is to produce a master plan for the Escuela park site.

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Post rating: 470


RMA and CSD need to quit fiddling around and devise a way to get 'purple pipe' wastewater up to that park so we can stop wasting expensive potable drinking water on those vast playing fields.  I cannot believe that a main from CSD's main supplying irrigation wastewater to the Club cannot be extended to Stonehouse for a heck of a lot less than $190,000..  This infrastructure cost should ideally be shared by developers of the approved subdivisions adjacent to the park via a purple pipe irrigation mandate on all new construction.  We've got to get serious about stretching our water supply and stop wasdting expensive wasting drinking water on fields while throwing/giving away the treated wastewater.  I hope this kerfuffle over watering this field generates attention and discussions that get us headed down that path.

Warren Lutey's picture
Joined: 03/20/2009
Posts: 53
Post rating: 38

Purple Pipe It

Absolutely, recycled water is good enough for the golf course it's good enough for the playing fields!  This was a very bad idea to start this field during a drought.  

Have a good day

Warren J. Lutey

Teresa Field's picture
Joined: 08/13/2007
Posts: 110
Post rating: 82

Time to invest in recycled water for the fields

Absolutely! This is a much needed investment.  I urge the Board to address this issue quickly and positively.  

Wyatt Gaylor's picture
Joined: 08/24/2007
Posts: 63
Post rating: 46

Though I can agree the timing

Though I can agree the timing is terrible for adding this practice field there is a huge need for it. Currently during Baseball/Softball season teams have to go off site and pay a fee to use poorly mainted fields at the schools when we had all this open land that just needed to be improved. The kids will get many years of use hopefully long after the drought is over.

Jerry Pasek's picture
Joined: 12/13/2007
Posts: 135
Post rating: 191


Residents need to keep in mind that today there is no excess reclaimed water available and the infrastructure is not in place to deliver it even if there was water. Today, all reclaimed water is utilized on the golf courses and even then water is drawn from the river (when flows are available) as a shortage exists. Until significant new development has been completed,  reclaimed will not be available. Implementation of low flow toilets and improvements in the sewer system has also resulted in a decrease in waste water on an annual basis. There should be serious consideration to replacing certain areas of the fields with artificial grass and non play areas left in some natural state to reduce overall water needs.

Jerry Pasek

Wyatt Gaylor's picture
Joined: 08/24/2007
Posts: 63
Post rating: 46

Jerry, I would love to have

Jerry, I would love to have artifical turf for the ball fields but I think the cost is a little prohibitive. For a proper playing field to be converted to turf you are looking at an initial investment per field of 500-800k. So just the 3 main fields would cost well over 1.5 million. and with the way the fields are shared I would suspect the Softball field would be more closer to 1 million itself.

Fred Kesich's picture
Joined: 09/30/2011
Posts: 20
Post rating: 39


When we moved here in 1987, there was an easement behind our house along Stonehouse Rd, next to the RM fence.

That easement was for a sewage pipe line buried there. The pipeline was not in use, but remained for emergency use.

Lee Lawrence, (former RMCSD), had told me that the line was left there to be able to pump sewage up to the old (dry) holding ponds for temporary storage in the event of an emergency with the waste water treatment plant. Those ponds are located near the maintenance shed near the baseball fields.

These ponds now are built on but the pipe paralleling Stonehouse Rd. was never un-trenched.

If the recycled water is available, this may be the transport system.

In any event, sports fields for our children are a good thing.

I do believe that if you read the  Planning Documents for RM, you will find that our Reservoir Lakes at RM were designed to provide water for the fully built out RM community for 3 years during a drought.  We are no where near built out and may never be. The water is available. It is just a matter of priority’s. (there is also the drainage water that we are evaporating with fountians at Lake Joaquine)



Your comments