Program encourages San Gabriel Valley schools, nonprofits to invest in water conservation projects

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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District has a program designed to encourage water-saving projects. The program allows some cities to apply for funding to create new water-wise projects.

SIERRA MADRE, Calif. (KABC) -- The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District has a program designed to encourage water-saving projects. At the Sierra Madre Community Nursery School, the kids are learning from a young age about being water wise.

Sarah Healy Pyrzak, coordinator of the school garden, says when she arrived at the school about five years ago things were outdated.

"We took out all the sprinklers, we put in the drip system, we put in an all new manifold that wasn't leaking everywhere. We made everything very water tight, water efficient," said Pyrzak.

All that work was thanks to an OWL grant: Opportunities for Water Leadership. Started in 2017, the program allows schools and nonprofits in Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre to apply for funding to create new water-wise projects.

"These are long-term savings. They're are not savings that are just going to be for the next couple of days or next couple of weeks. These kinds of savings will last for years and years," said Thomas Wong of the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District.

Bob Spears of the Sierra Madre Community Foundation said they are making progress in re-landscaping the post office.

"I looked at that and said here's an opportunity for us to re-landscape and have a demonstration project for the community that will show people how to plant drought tolerant native plants using low flow irrigation," said Spears.

Like the school, part of the work is funded by OWL grant money, with the hope that others in the community will want to begin to learn how to save water.

That improved irrigation at the nursery school has allowed them to use the garden daily.

"It's immeasurable because we do so much planting here now, we do so much eating here now, which is the part the kids like!" said Pyrzak.