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This article discusses how Homeowner Associations (HOAs can weather droughts and avoid homeowner mutinies

HOA Mutiny

Drought has plagued much of the USA for the last few years with some areas especially western regions seeing exceptional drought conditions.

The impact of drought affects industrial water users, agriculture and homeowners all of whom are competing for an increasingly scarce resource.

“Forty out of 50 state water managers expect water shortages under average conditions in some portion of their states over the next decade.”

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency

Because of the drought, state and local governments are imposing water severe water restrictions. These restrictions are sometimes at conflict with HOAs that require perfectly manicured lawns or need to maintain common areas in order to keep property values up.

On top of the water restrictions being handed out, HOAs now face legislative changes that make their enforcement policies void and unenforceable. Both Texas and California have enacted such legislation.

All this puts HOAs at a crossroads. They can contribute to water conservation initiatives or they can fight against them. The reality is, fighting water conservation efforts would not only bring a lot of negative publicity but also weaken long-term lobbyist efforts.

What Should HOAs Do?

There are really two paths for HOAs to pursue if they want to act in the best interest of their association and for the homeowners.

  • The first is to embrace the water restrictions as the likely long-term future. This is because rain alone won’t stop the water shortage because population growth and industry will continue to increase water demand.
  • The second is to make certain, HOA assets such as sprinkler heads, pond pumps, pools, golf courses, ice machines and any other water using assets in in optimal working condition.

Both paths are connected at the hip. The impact of embracing the water restrictions is going to minimized if assets that transport and use water are in optimal condition.

To accomplish this HOAs should dust off their CMMS or invest in a CMMSsolution. CMMS will help HOAs save money and reduce water use because:

  • CMMS will ensure maintenance on pipes, valves, leaks is scheduled, done and recorded.
  • Inspections using CMMS will identify problems before they explode into major asset failures including major water pipe breaks.
  • Assets cared for with a CMMS run more efficiently saving energy.
  • CMMS solution can also be used to schedule the transition from grasses and plants that require a lot of water to drought tolerant plants (xeriscaping).

The bottom line is that lawns and common areas are going to be a lot browner in the future. How brown depends on HOAs.