Ripon offers loans to extend non-potable water to commercial sites

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The City of Ripon offers loans to non-residential property owners to install non-potable water service connections on site.

The purpose of this type of irrigation system is the maintenance of a non-functional lawn.

“To help businesses mitigate the inability to irrigate non-functioning turf, which creates dry, dead grass and is a potential fire hazard, Ripon City Council has asked staff to bring back a loan program to help businesses connect to the city’s no.-drinking water,” City Administrator Kevin Werner said at the Aug. 9 meeting.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in March that directed the State Water Resources Control Board to consider issuing certain warrants with respect to water conservation and other such restrictions in due to severe drought.

This included banning the use of potable water for ‘non-functional turf’ – the definition of this turf is ornamental only and not regularly used by people for recreational purposes or at community events – on commercial, industrial and institutional sites.

Non-drinking water is water that is not treated according to drinking standards or intended for consumption.

Council Member Leo Zuber noted that a significant number of properties have reasonable access to the City’s non-potable system.

Werner confirmed this, saying there were 16 businesses in town with non-functioning turf. Of this number, nine of them have reasonable access to the City’s non-potable network and the other seven would need to modify their landscaping.

The loan program is available to owners of non-residential properties – commercial or industrial – within the city limits, with non-working turf over 500 square feet.

Property owners with a non-potable water main located in the public right-of-way in front of their property may receive a loan to construct the non-potable water service to be connected to the on-site irrigation network.

They would be required to obtain an encroachment permit free of charge and hire a licensed, bonded contractor to carry out the work to City of Ripon standards and specifications.

Those considering replacing non-functional turf with water-efficient landscaping should comply with the state of California’s Mandatory Water Efficiency Landscaping Ordinance – they could also receive a loan to make these improvements.

The terms of the loan would be for the actual cost of the improvements with a maximum of $30,000 – five years with an interest rate of 2%.

According to the staff report, “If each eligible nonresidential property owner were to take out the full loan amount available, the city’s water business capital account would issue $480,000 in loans.

The current balance of this fund is $7.2 million.

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