Meeting Date:

May 15, 2006





David A. Berger,

General Manager


Educate Public & Enforce Water Waste Rules



Line Item No.:  





Prepared By:

Robert Cline

Cost Estimate:



Administrative Services Manager/Chief Financial Officer Approval:  Yes

Committee Recommendation:  The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on May 2, 2006 and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


SUMMARY: Water Demand Division staff, as members of the Water Awareness Committee of Monterey County (WAC), has been working on several regional water conservation projects.  Some of these projects were the Monterey County Fair 1st Annual Xeriscape Design Awards and Monterey County Fair Landscape Conservation Exhibit Booth (August 2005), the Water-Wise Landscape Symposium & Vendor Expo that took place at Rancho Cañada in March 2006, and several other regional water conservation efforts.  One project that has been considered and approved in concept is interactive water conservation software to support water efficient landscaping in Monterey County.  The educational software would be made available to the public to promote water conservation.  A few demonstration copies of the software are available in the Water Demand Division.


During each of the events, WAC has displayed and gathered public opinion and support for a Water-Wise Gardening for Monterey County software project.  The GardenSoft software includes local photographs and a database of water efficient perennials, shrubs, bulbs, climbers and trees that are compatible with Monterey County’s climate.  The custom-designed CDROM combines the features of two leading landscape software packages, PlantMaster and GardenWorks, to create a practical and entertaining software program that promotes principles of water efficient gardening and general water conservation. The CDROM combines the information and ideas of the participating water agencies (in this case, local Monterey-area agencies) with the technological know-how and landscape connections of GardenSoft.  This project was showcased at the April 22, 2006 Water-Wise Landscape Symposium & Vendor Expo, and software was pre-ordered by several participants of the event.    


DISCUSSION:   If the Board adopts this item with the Consent Calendar, the District would be authorized to contribute a $3,000 “share” of the development cost of the Water-Wise Gardening for Monterey County software, as well as $2,000 for replication, purchase and acquisition of the final CDROM product when development is complete.  It is anticipated that the product will be completed and available within nine months.  WAC expects to enter into contract with GardenSoft to develop the software later this month.


Since the total development cost is $15,000, the project is cosponsored by other member agencies of the Water Awareness Committee.  The development cost has been divided equally among five contributors, including: Cal Water, Marina Coast Water District, Cal Am, the Water Awareness Committee of Monterey County, Inc., and, if this request is approved, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. 


The many benefits and features of the GardenSoft Water-Wise Software include:


·         A simple, straightforward interface that any computer user can navigate.

·         A regional design which includes plants and garden examples specific to the Monterey Peninsula and Monterey County areas.

·         An extensive plant database and garden library aimed at helping property owners cut down on water consumption while meeting any landscaping requirements set by County, City, and District ordinances.

·         Combination of information and ideas from participating water agencies with technological expertise and landscape connections of GardenSoft.

·         The logo(s) and custom artwork of the water agencies are included on the CD Jewel Case Art, silk-screened onto the CD itself, and within the software.

·         Interactive public service item that can be either given away or sold at a nominal amount at special classes, public events, water audits, or school events.

·         Problem solving lists for plants that deal with a variety of local situations. 

·         Embedded hot-links that enable the user to identify plants within an example garden, as well as a searchable database which identifies plants relevant to specific Monterey County areas by botanical or common name, look or color, general variety, and more.

·         A hands-on approach to helping agencies and property owners fulfill the requirements of Best Management Practice #1, while illustrating the idea that water conservation can be beautiful.


GardenSoft developed the Water Wise Gardening for Sonoma and Marin Counties CDROM, which won the 2004 Theodore Roosevelt Environmental Award for Excellence in Conservation and Natural Resources Management from the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).  Other satisfied customers include:  California Urban Water Conservation Council, City of Cotati, City of Millbrae, East Bay MUD, City of Napa, Contra Costa Water District, Marin Municipal Water District, Metropolitan Water District, Santa Clara Valley Water District, City of Santa Rosa, City of Rohnert Park, Sonoma County Water Agency, and many others.


RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends the Board approve the funding of this regional, collaborative conservation effort regarding development and purchase of software for Water-Wise Gardening in Monterey County, in the amount of $5,000.  Funds for this project are budgeted in the Educate Public and Enforce Water Waste Rules account for FY 2005-2006.


BACKGROUND:  GardenSoft, the company which develops this software, has been working with other cities and agencies since 1984 in developing a customized, regional garden guide for each new development of their unique Water-Wise CDROM.  Many conservation programs have been enhanced by the introduction of this practical and entertaining software that promotes principles of water-wise gardening and landscaping.