Sometimes being No. 1 isn’t so great


By Ann Boon, President,

Rancho Santa Fe Association Board

I’ll bet if I asked you and your friends, “What is the best place in the United States to live?” the No. 1 response would be “Rancho Santa Fe.” That’s an easy one.

Unfortunately, many of us were chagrined to read in the Nov. 6, 2014, issue of the U-T, “Residents of the elite community of Rancho Santa Fe have the highest home water use in California, according to a newly released state report.”

That is not exactly a No. 1 ranking to be proud of. Representatives from Santa Fe Irrigation District did explain to the U-T reporter that we have large properties, a golf course and low population density, all of which translate to high per-capita usage. Nevertheless, it is discouraging to read of such an ignominious distinction.

Many of us are trying to cut back on water usage and to change our landscaping with more drought-tolerant flora. We have only to look to our beautiful Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club for our most obvious role model. The Golf Club is renovating approximately 18 acres, removing turf and replanting with drought-tolerant trees and plants. Not only will the new landscaping project save water and add to the grace and beauty of the course, it will also be paid for by a grant from the Metropolitan Water District.

Did you know that the state of California has millions of dollars available to consumers who remove turf and replace it with drought-friendly landscape? To help with turf-removal projects, rebates are available for $2 or more per square foot of turf removed. If you are really interested in lowering your water bills, you can find all the details and requirements online at

If you are not ready to give up your turf entirely, because a lawn provides such a wonderful play surface for children and dogs, you might consider installing a more drought-resistant variety of grass. There is plenty of information online and local nurseries offer a wealth of information as well. You can call the Association office at 858-756-1174 and ask for Arnold Keene, who can help direct you in determining how to participate in these important water-saving initiatives.

If you are building or remodeling your home and landscaping, the Covenant Design Review Committee could be very helpful in directing you to drought-tolerant landscaping options. The members of the CDRC understand that a beautiful landscape is one that also is kind to our environment.

Because of our unique circumstances, Rancho Santa Fe may always top the state list for per capita water consumption. However, if we all work together to conserve, maybe next year we could be named No. 1 for Greatest Percentage Drop in Water Usage.

We know Rancho Santa Fe will always be the No. 1 on the list of Best Places to Live. That’s an easy one.