Meeting Date:

February 26, 2009





Darby Fuerst,




General Manager

Line Item No.:


Prepared By:

Stephanie Pintar

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  The Administrative Committee considered this item on February 17, 2009 and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


SUMMARY:   District staff was recently notified that the software developer of the Water Wise Gardening for Monterey County that their product can be purchased for use on the Internet.  The license is $5,000 per year and allows unlimited links to the host website.  For an additional $250, additional frames can be purchased that allow the website to track user statistics.  Monthly web traffic reports that provide detailed information about the visitors that visit the software are included in the license.  District staff is requesting authorization to purchase a one-year license and one additional frame to enable implementation of the Water Wise Gardening for Monterey County software on the Water Awareness Committee (WAC) of Monterey County website with a link to MPWMD’s website.


WAC members expressed interest in buying in to this project at their February 12, 2009 meeting; however buy-in may not take place until the next budget year.  District staff believes there is some urgency for making the software available early in 2009 to facilitate conservation activities during the spring.  The District has funds approved for educating the public that staff proposes to use for this expenditure.  District staff will continue to work with WAC and its members to seek reimbursement from any agency linking to the WAC site.  It is anticipated that the contract will eventually be transferred to WAC.


The District and California American Water (CAW) are presently collaborating on a joint water conservation website.  The new website will benefit from having the Water Wise Gardening for Monterey County software available when it launches March 31, 2009.  CAW is funding the website development through funding included for this purpose in the Conservation Filing pending approval of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in A.07.12.010.  However, CAW has not been authorized funding for supplemental programs for the website—hence District staff seeks authorization to purchase the supplemental frame for the joint website as part of its conservation outreach budget.  The additional frame would enable tracking of Water Wise Gardening statistics.  Tracking use of the application is sought-after, as multiple reporting requirements have been included in the settlement agreements between CAW, MPWMD, and the Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) that are related to the conservation funding currently being considered by the CPUC.


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff recommends the Administrative Committee approve expenditure of $5,250 and authorize the General Manager to enter into a contract with GardenSoft to purchase a web license and additional frame for the Water Wise Gardening for Monterey County software.  Funding is currently in the budget for this project under 4-2-2, Educate the Public and Enforce Water Waste Rules.  Approval of the contract at the February 26, 2009 meeting will enable the web application to be available on the joint MPWMD/California American Water website when it goes live on March 31, 2009.


The Administrative Committee reviewed this item at its February 17, 2009 meeting and voted unanimously to recommend approval of the expenditure.


BACKGROUND:  In 2005, WAC contracted with GardenSoft to develop a Water Wise Gardening CD-ROM tailored to Monterey County. General distribution of the CD has occurred in all areas of Monterey County that are served by WAC members and by participants in the project. As landscaping irrigation generates the largest water usage on residential properties, and with evolving County, City, and District landscape requirements and ordinances, the information provided helps property owners be “garden smart” and reducing water use while still meeting any landscaping requirements.  This is done with the user-friendly access and direction provided by the Water Wise software. The development of the CD master cost $15,000, which was divided up among the project participants.  The CD-ROMs were purchased at a bulk cost of $3.15 each.


The CD-ROM provides photos of various types of local gardens; examples of front and back yards, hillsides, raised planters, shrub and perennial borders, walkways, parking strips, patio areas, theme gardens, native gardens, decks, fences, gates, surfaces, benches, trellises, low-maintenance gardens, and Mediterranean style gardens.  There are hot-links embedded within the garden images of plants which link to photography, plant or material identification, and related information. Users are able to search for plants relevant to specific Monterey County areas by botanical name or common name, by look or color, by general variety, and much more. A brief questionnaire leads the user to the appropriate plants to solve their gardening needs. A series of information pages are provided that list watering tips on a month-by-month basis and general lawn and planting area instructions for each month of the year.  Finally, a list of all cooperating agencies, cities, and groups is listed within the software.