Volume 15, No. 4 jccEgov.com/jcsa April-June 2011
From the General Manager
The Master Gardener (MG) Program is one of the best governmentally sponsored programs available. It starts with the concept of giving back! The tuition cost is nominal but volunteering to share what is learned is part of the commitment to being accepted into the program. I had my first exposure to the MG Program in the early 1990s when I was asked to make a presentation about the local water supply. What an honor it has been to be asked to return every year since. One thing has been common since that first presentation, the people who desire to become MGs want to give back to the community. And give back they do – I see MGs at various community functions like the Williamsburg Farmers’ Market and James City County Fair sharing with others what they have learned through the program.
The MG Program is sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) and includes 10 to 12 half day classes focusing on urban agriculture – everything from lawn care, to the proper use of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, and the correct method of trimming shrubs. And much more! MGs are so committed that they became self sustained when funding to the program was reduced by the VCE. Every class creates its own leadership who carries on the tradition to the next class.
Why are MGs important to JCSA? They help JCSA get its message out about water conservation. They are our ambassadors for water conservation! In the winter, when there is no need for irrigation, JCSA’s average daily water demand is about 3.5 to 4.0 million gallons. When spring comes and homeowners’ hearts turn to their landscaping, water demands begin to increase to much higher levels – sometimes critically high. In periods of extended warm weather with little rain, JCSA’s water demands have reached 9.0 million gallons per day. This places great stress on our limited groundwater supply and the mechanical system, such as pumps needed to supply the water. So, our ambassador MGs are out there telling people how to maintain healthy lawns and landscape materials so it will survive in weather stressed time using the optimal amount of water.
We’ve also partnered with many of the key local businesses in the landscape industry. Universally they tell us that the tendency is for people to put too much water on their landscapes, at times doing more damage than good. MGs are out there VOLUNTEERING and educating their neighbors on how to have the best looking, healthiest landscape possible using tried and true techniques.
Over the past 18 to 20 years of making presentations to the MG, I’ve met hundreds of wonderful people. So it’s hard to single out one person, but in this case I have to; well, maybe two people. About 10 years ago Mr. and Mrs. Bob Winters were participants in one of the MG classes. Bob went on to play a vital role in establishing the Turf Love Program. He coordinates a group of MG volunteers that will visit your lawn to do an assessment of what is needed to optimize the turf. The volunteers take soil samples, measure turf area, and then make recommendations on what is needed to have healthy turf. Bob’s program also offers two classes per year on the how-to’s of turf, one of which has Ph.D.’s from Virginia Tech making presentations on the latest research on grass. I mention Mrs. Winters because she’s always there. Behind every great man there’s a great woman and this couldn’t be more true for the Winters. Thanks to the Winters for all they do!
Larry M. Foster
How Do I Pay My Water Bill?
Customers may pay HRUBS bills:
- In person – cash, check, or money order ONLY* (See payment locations.)
- With electronic payment from a financial institution account (no fee). Please allow up to two business days for payment to post to your HRUBS account.
*Credit/debit cards not accepted in person at payment locations.
- By mail – check or money order (PAYMENTS ONLY – not for correspondence) to HRSD, P.O. Box 1651, Norfolk, VA 23501-1651
- Through third party bill pay services*. Please allow up to three business days for payment to post to your HRUBS account.
*HRSD can receive electronic payments from most banks and other 3rd party bill pay services (e.g. Checkfree, Metavante, Avista, etc.).
- Through Official Payments Corporation (convenience fee) – credit/debit card. Please allow up to three business days for payment to post to your HRUBS account.
- Internet – Official Payments. Link opens a new window. Enter jurisdiction code 1078.
- Telephone – Official Payments, 1-800-272-9829. Select option 3. Enter jurisdiction code 1078.
If your water service needs to be restored after payment is made, please contact HRSD Customer Information Services at Ask@hrsd.com or
757-460-2491 during business hours (M - F, 8:00am - 4:30pm).
Outdoor water use regulations are in effect annually for JCSA customers from May 1 to September 30. Details at jccEgov.com/jcsa or call the Outdoor Water Info Line at 259-4152.