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Marsha McLean: Keeping Santa Clarita beautiful

Live from City Hall

Posted: February 12, 2012 5:45 p.m.
Updated: February 12, 2012 5:45 p.m.

The city of Santa Clarita places a high priority on excellent quality of life attributes, such as water-efficient and well-maintained landscaping in our center medians, side panels, paseos, trails and parks, as well as the planting of hundreds of trees every year, and keeping our community free of litter.

The city’s Landscape Maintenance District and other city departments work hard to help keep our community looking great. This includes managing more than 1,000 acres of landscaping, including all major thoroughfare landscaped medians, 30 Paseo bridges and tunnels, six parks and 40 landscape zones.

In many neighborhoods, LMD funds pay for landscape and beautification enhancements in the public rights of way or in public landscape easements. Enhancements vary from area to area, but generally include maintaining parkways, side panels, slopes, entry monuments, paseo trails and street trees.

A primary goal of the district is reducing the community’s water consumption while keeping areas beautifully landscaped. With a population of 177,500 residents, the city of Santa Clarita took an aggressive approach to achieve sustainable water-efficiency standards.

In an effort to save millions of gallons of water and increase savings, the city replaced over 500 obsolete irrigation controllers with smart, weather-based irrigation controllers that are used to water parks, medians and streetscaping.

The new controllers access real-time weather information via the Internet to determine the right time and amount of water needed to irrigate various landscaped areas based on solar radiation, wind, humidity and temperature. The system is similar to a home thermostat that measures temperature and adjusts accordingly.

Since the launch of its Water Use Efficiency Program, the city’s irrigation-water management system has grown to become the world’s largest smart-controller water system. In just the last year, this system has reduced the city’s annual water consumption by more than 150 million gallons.

Once this water-management program has been fully implemented, the city of Santa Clarita anticipates a 40 percent per unit reduction in water usage based on historical consumption.

The city’s smart-technology water system has also helped save money. This past summer, the city added improvements to Northbridge Park including new landscaping, pathways and a new water-saving irrigation system, which reduced consumption an Northbridge Park by 17 million gallons.

As a result of this effort, the Castaic Lake Water Agency awarded the city a $16,500 rebate check for its landscape reductions as a part of the Water Use Efficiency program for large landscape customers.

In addition to continuing its water-conservation efforts, Landscape Maintenance District funding also supports ongoing enhancements and maintenance for existing landscaping projects, stamped concrete medians, pedestrian bridges and tunnels, decorative paseo lighting and children’s play equipment.

As a part of these projects, the city has added new landscaped medians on Bouquet Canyon Road between Plum Canyon and Sutter’s Pointe and refurbished 4.5 miles of medians along Soledad Canyon Road. Currently, Santa Clarita’s Landscape Maintenance District is working on new projects, including the beautification of the Lyons/I-5 Interstate Corridor, Old Town Newhall, Alta Madera Paseo Bridge, Bouquet junction medians and much more.

To learn more about the Landscape Maintenance District, contact the city at (661) 286-4067 or visit

Marsha McLean is a Santa Clarita city Councilmember and can be reached at:


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