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Gardener's Water Use
updated: Aug 15, 2014, 12:26 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I rent an apartment in Santa Barbara and I've noticed that our complex's gardeners (who are paid by my landlord) use quite a bit of water. They also have some sprinklers timed that, in my opinion, run for far too long on plants that don't necessarily need it. I'm hesitant to tell the landlord directly because I fear it will be held against me as a tenant, which has been done in other circumstances to different neighbors. Can I report them anonymously?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 12:33 PM

Yea think you can drop a time from a cell phone..


 COMMENT 544869 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 12:33 PM

Talk to the Gardner.


 COMMENT 544873P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 12:48 PM

Water waster hotline: 805 564 5460 Have date and time available, photos if possible.
The city is trying to educate and change behavior to reduce the problem before punishing.


 COMMENT 544874 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 12:50 PM

Oh how funny our society has gotten when one is too fearful to approach a gardener .....


 COMMENT 544876 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 12:57 PM

Are the sprinklers watering sidewalks and causing serious runoff down the street? If that is the case the landlord might like to know such activities are taking place on his/her property that are currently restricted.


 COMMENT 544877 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:00 PM

OP here- the gardeners don't speak English and I do not speak Spanish. Our landlord has sent out several emails asking tenants to reduce water use, yet doesn't check on their own gardeners.

Like I said, based on previous situations, all tenants have learned to "not make waves" with the landlord unless we want increased rent or added headaches.


 COMMENT 544878 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:04 PM

Tell us where you live and i will go ask the landlord myself. They can't evict me I don't live there.


 COMMENT 544879 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:07 PM

I agree with 874. If that isn't possible call the owner directly or put a note in with your rent, nicely worded. Dear So and so I noticed.....Let's stop the tattle tale behavior and just be neighborly.


 COMMENT 544882 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:20 PM

OP, are you a gardener? Is there some reason why you think you know more about how much water plants need than people who deal with them for tens of hours per week?


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:21 PM

Person has shared that they have had problems with the land lord before and does not want them again. I wouldn't talk to any of them landlord will get a few bills and the problem will fix it self..But there is nothing wrong with dropping the snitch bomb if it bothers you so much..


 COMMENT 544886 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:23 PM

You could create an anonymous email address not connected to your name and email the landlord, or just submit a letter signed "a concerned tenant"


 COMMENT 544887P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:24 PM

That is your water that is being wasted. Report as one would a burglar.


 COMMENT 544892 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:35 PM

If the tenants are already at the " don't make waves" standpoint... then I wouldn't. I know it doesn't sound right... but you don't #*!@ where you sleep. Been there (not there any more) done that.


 COMMENT 544898 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:48 PM

882: A person who lives full-time on a property knows far more about their water usage and landscaping than the gardeners who show up once a week for up for as little time as possible. Irrigation is supposed to be done in early morning or evening, when residents are usually around and notice whether the water is being wasted, and gardeners are not around.

OP: If you're afraid to talk your landlord and can't speak to the gardeners, report it to the City water hotline. They have an online form where you can report anonymously.


 COMMENT 544899P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:48 PM

887P, make that "our" water. The whole community is party to things like this because water is a shared resource. The less waste, the longer the supply will last.


 COMMENT 544902 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:52 PM

Not sure what the situation with the landlord is. But, I would think that landlord should appreciate that kind of notification. After all, their paying the water bill. You'd actually be doing them a favor (especially if they are conscious of the water issue).

But if he truly is difficult like you say he is. Send the water cops after him. Sounds like he deserves it.

And finally, you may want to look for another place to live. It sounds like a tough situation you're living in.


 COMMENT 544903 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:53 PM

If the timer box is unlocked, adjust it yourself. Timer manuals are available on the Internet.


 COMMENT 544904 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 01:56 PM

If the landscaping looks bad because watering is cut back the landlord can't get top dollar from prospective tenants. He'll raise your rent to make up for the lost revenue.


 COMMENT 544907 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 02:01 PM

Unfortunately, I wouldn't trust the gardeners to be conscious of water conservation unless they're from a reputable company (Kitson is pretty good).


 COMMENT 544923P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 02:45 PM

Please follow the advice of those who suggest the city's hotline, 805-564-5640. A photo would be helpful, however, and they're only open M-Th and every other Friday ---- haha on the city really wanting to not waste water. (One can leave a message, however, with name and phone number.)

I think your concern about retaliation is reasonable. Santa Barbara has low vacancy and high rents.


 COMMENT 544926 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 02:52 PM

Same thing with me but I ended up talking to my gardeners and telling them they were using too much. They put back our sprinklers from 15 minutes to 5 minutes.


 ELAZ agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 04:18 PM

PLEASE report this anonymously. We can't afford water being wasted anywhere.


 COMMENT 545009 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 05:56 PM

There's a little conflict of interest for gardeners here. They obviously want the garden to look nice but reducing water would slow the growth requiring less frequent tending. If the landlord realized they could save money this way gardeners would find their work cut. The gardener at my place gets really offended when I talk about water consumption especially about conservation. My theory is he's been burned in the past and won't be cut like grass again. So I passively change the sprinklers after be comes then return them to his settings the day before he comes.


 COMMENT 545023 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 07:05 PM

The landlord is paying for the water, I presume, or he would not have asked the tenants to cut back. That being the case, I don't think he would see it as criticism if you let him know the excess use is the gardener, not the tenants. Hardly anyone minds saving money. You and the landlord are on the same side of the issue, in this case. Of course you should make notes for a few days so you can be specific. Rather than just "uses too much water" you can say the sprinkler was on for an hour on Thursday and again on Saturday, or a sprinkler is broken and the water is just being wasted going straight up or onto the sidewalk. If I was the landlord I'd much prefer you told me what you'd seen, rather than calling an official agency.


 COMMENT 545037 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 07:47 PM

Oh for the love of...

Option 1) Talk to the landlord
Option 2) Talk to the gardener
Option 3) Talk to both at the same time

What a sad state of affairs. If your gardeners were burying bodies in the yard, I'd say sure, go ahead and report that anonymously. But it's water. Reach down, grab your schnutz and fricken say something. Or don't, I actually don't care. I just care about the astonishing cowardice.


 COMMENT 545043 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 08:11 PM

Oh come on. Landlords are not ogres (well, usually).
I think if you have something to say, stand up and say it. If you don't have the character to do that, keep quiet.
I hate to see us become a society where anonymously ratting on others is acceptable.


 COMMENT 545048 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 08:44 PM

Don't worry about it OP. The sea levels are rising at such a rapid rate with climate change and that means that plenty of water is on its way. Remember the "Blue Line?" Well, anything below say Ortega St. should get plenty of water. My neighbor does not believe any of this stuff and he has two properties along what we now refer to as "the beach." And, if you do not speak Spanish...continue to Press 1 or start learning.


 BECKY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-15 10:42 PM

At the time I'm writing this note, only 26% of the comments are written by people who are willing to identify who they are, yet many (most?) of these anonymous commentors are saying 'just talk to the landlord! Doing it anonymously is cowardly.' Does anyone else see the irony here?


 COMMENT 545058P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-16 12:18 AM

Those who say the OP should talk to the landlord must never have been a renter in SB. I am a homeowner, but I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard renters say they go the extra mile never to ask anything of their landlords----for fear they'll be made to move. It's a legitimate fear, unfortunately. It's not question of having a backbone or being brave, it's called self-preservation.

OP, if you want results and positive results, please call that hotline #. Don't allow anyone to make you feel that you should go directly to the landlords or gardeners. This misuse of water is something best dealt with by City authorities.

I admire you for caring and asking what's to be done. Now, call that hotline, please.


 COMMENT 545075P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-16 07:40 AM

Waste water violations form online: http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/


 COMMENT 545082P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-16 08:04 AM

I agree it's best to call the hotline. That's what it's for. I'm sure they have bilingual employees who can communicate with the gardeners, if that's what it takes. Please don't even think you have to feel a bit guilty about not going directly to the obviously absentee landlord.


 COMMENT 545102 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-16 09:12 AM

My landlord pays the water. Our shower leaks with a steady stream and the tub diverter leaks half the water out the spout while showereing. The landlord knows and doesn't care. Try to solve that one.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-16 09:14 AM

Calling the hotline means they will speak with the landlord and inform the gardener of a better way to manage water. No one will get in trouble over a 1st time problem, it's just about educating. And, OP, don't let the negative remarks here bother you, just folks with low self-esteem trying to sound cocky to massage their egos.


 COMMENT 545106 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-16 09:18 AM

@882 the simple answer to question 2 is yes. I'm not the OP but have been in the green industry long enough to know that many "gardeners" are merely equipment operators lacking a modicum of horticultural knowledge or any sort of water management skills.

To wit, there is an estate with an acre plus of turf. The lawn care guy who is the only "gardener" does not know how to program the controller, does not know when or how much to feed the lawn or other plantings, and did not, until I pointed it out to him, know that it is necessary to sharpen the blade on his mowers to actually CUT the grass rather than beating it into submission.


 COMMENT 545121 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-16 10:05 AM

Tell the landlord you have a great idea to save him lots of money and then ask for a concession on your rent. Big disconnect here when renters don't pay for water, no incentive to save it and then a Jewell like you comes forward concerned although it doesn't affect your pocketbook. Let's not play into big brother and be snitches on each other.


 DOG MOM agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-16 10:40 AM

Becky & 082P---agree with you both.


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