By Hayley HartStaff Writer / Twitter: @hayleylhart

The California drought is affecting LBCC’s campuses and horticultural students’ career paths after graduation.

The PCC does not have a reclaimed water system set up. The horticulture program watering is in accordance with Long Beach City’s regulation on Tuesdays and Saturdays, said Brian Hastie, vocational instruction technician of the LBCC program.

Frank Obregon, 21, a horticulture major, said, “I do notice things don’t get watered outside as often as they used to. We use more shade cloth to try to prevent water loss of the plants. I know that in a general sense we have cut back on water use.”

According to lbwater.org, restrictions are also placed on what time of day, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and the amount of time spent watering, under 20 minutes depending on sprinkler flow rate.

Hastie said the program waters early when it is cool so the water will absorb into the plants and ground instead of evaporating and that mulch can be spread out in a garden to slow the absorption rate of water into the ground and plants. Long Beach and many other cities have a free mulch program.

Meanwhile the LAC uses reclaimed water for the grass, trees and bushes on campus, giving the grounds their noticeably greener appearance compared to the PCC. The LAC has a dry creek bed between buildings R and T that hides tanks that collect rainwater and runoff, Hastie said.

Horticulture alumnus Chris Baker, LBCC grounds maintenance specialist and irrigation technician, said, “The creek bed area at the LAC was built in 2011 as part of a project to improve drainage in the area, which was a big problem, and to comply with storm water runoff regulations.”

The PCC’s garden is used for maintenance, pruning, insect, construction and design classes and for plant identification.

Hastie said, “The garden is our living lab. Everything that happens here happens for a reason.”

Areas of the garden are allowed to be overgrown so pruning and maintenance classes have hands-on projects to work on.

Horticulture students are finding careers made more prevalent due to the drought. Including careers like working for Long Beach City programs such as the lawn-to-garden program. Long Beach offers incentives to residents to remove their lawn and plant water-saving plants. Information about Long Beach’s lawn-to-garden program is available at lblawntogarden.com.

Marcus Malouf, 22, a horticulture major, said, “Long Beach is like a pioneer with the program. They give the most money and they promote it the most.”

Hastie said established plants tend not need much water even if not classified as drought tolerant.

If people are looking for drought-tolerant plants for the garden, Hastie said plants from the five Mediterranean regions in South Africa, Southern Europe, Australia, Chile and California may handle long dry spells and do well in Southern California.

Hastie said drip systems, which water a plant directly, instead of sprinklers, reduces water use and supplies water more directly plants.

Hastie said, “Sometimes people who water by hand tend to be good waterers.”

He said watering more efficiently is where much of water savings can be found in a yard.

Baker said if a broken sprinkler or other problem is noticed to report it to (562) 938-4040 or notify grounds department staff in the green carts.