Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008 | The water district in my area has implemented a conservation plan that seems to have turned my independent efforts to conserve water in my avocado grove into a sort of punishment for taking steps on my own to reduce water usage.

I have 800 avocado trees. Three years ago, I installed technology that reduced my grove water usage by as much as 25 percent. When mandatory conservation came this year, my lower usage history was used to determine how much water I was allowed to use going forward. This seemed unfair so I contacted the Ramona Municipal Water Department, who were very quick to inform me that there would be no exceptions — even if a user had proof of a successful conservation plan in place for three years.

In my area, grove owners have cut down between 15 and 30 percent of their trees to meet the RMWD conservation requirements. After my own successful efforts to conserve in previous years, for me to meet those same requirements, I’ll have to cut back 40 to 50 percent of my grove.

Looking back, I realize that I could have saved over 350 avocado trees in my grove by simply resisting the urge to conserve water until it became mandatory. I feel stupid for even trying.

Would it have been all that ridiculous to have watered more to get the numbers up a little?

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