“Groundwater, the supply of water in underground aquifers that serves as a savings account of sorts during dry years, is still low and getting lower due to overpumping.” – Peter Gleick, chief scientist and president emeritus of the Pacific Institute
Take it from the experts, despite epic rainfalls with feet of water falling from “Atmospheric Rivers” the west coasts’ equivalent to a hurricane, parts of California will still have to conserve water.
Earlier last week, the National Weather Service in Sacramento held a weather chat on Twitter as an atmospheric river event was going to be barreling down on California. It was open to anyone to ask a meteorologist a question. I asked (on my personal Twitter account):
“When this storm passes, is it possible to calculate how much water fell across the state? #cawx”
@NWSSacramento’s video response:
Like many of you, I tore out my lawn and put in a California drought friendly garden. Complete with drip irrigation, mulch and drought tolerant plants. Even with this landscape change, I still haul recycled water. As I’ve said many of times before, I do it because its the right thing to do.
Even though the plants don’t need much water, I still irrigate with drinking water through the drip system twice a week for a few minutes each time. On days when I bring recycled water home, I get to choose which plants get it and which don’t, this has allowed me to perform a test and the results are key to unlocking your gardens full potential.
There are many different flowering plants in my garden, but there are two I want to focus on. Crinum (Cry-num) and Bulbinella (bulb-in-nell-uh).
Utility pump connected to 150 gallon water bladder.
By my calculations, I have hauled over 23,000 gallons of recycled water since buying my first tank in 2014. In that span, I have made 159 trips to and from a fill station, driven over 1,100 miles while carrying an extra 1250 pounds in my truck. I have since purchased a new set of tires and what do I have to show for it? My water bill is down 92% from 2013 levels and my drought tolerant yard has never been greener.
I happily haul recycled water because it is the right thing to do.
A year ago I removed the lawn in my front yard and replaced it with a drought tolerant garden and a swale. I wrote about the process and everything that went in to it.
This is what it looked like before:
Here is what it looks like today:
The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has a problem and it has disappointed a few of their customers. Fueled by Jerry Brown’s state mandate to reduce water usage, EBMUD’s Board of Directors increased conservation targets from 15% to 20% in April 2015. EBMUD claimed their East Bay residents were only conserving 6%. So they set out to curb those limits.
For starters, they said you can only water 2 days per week. Then they said you couldn’t water between 9:00AM and 6:00PM. Next, EBMUD put out brochures to encourage their customers to water their trees. ‘18” deep‘ it reads, ‘up to 70% of the tree’s root zone.’ For large trees, that could be up to 1,000 gallons per month, per tree.
Last night, on the news, nearly every news station had a story on the drought and how you must reduce. But how many of them provided good, quality tips on ways that really work?
June 1st, 2015 marked the date where water reduction mandates would take effect. Homeowners MUST reduce their usage by up to 38% depending on where they live. The complete list is available here for “conservation standard” for your water company – information that is available at the State Water Resource Control Board website.
East Bay Municipal Utilities District – 16% reduction
Contra Costa Water District – 28% reduction
As a homeowner – what steps can you take to lower your usage – starting today to going extreme?
As previously noted in “What Impact Does Recycled Water Have On Plants In The Garden” this is the fourth in a series of data as provided from the UC Davis Report on “Landscape Plant Selection Guide For Recycled Water Irrigation“.
For this table, ground covers and vines are listed in 4 columns. The first is its Botanical Name, second column is Common Name, third column is its tolerance to salt spray and fourth column is its tolerance to soil salinity.
Plants were watered with spray irrigation from recycled water. The big take-away with this list is almost most ground covers and vines can handle RecycledH2O and thrive in its environment.
I follow a page on Facebook called “Grow Food Not Lawns“, they are HUGE advocates for getting rid of the water hog called a lawn and planting it with something more beneficial to the homeowner. I have never been very interested in lawns as they require a lot of water, upkeep and I find them a rather large waste of space.
The water district in my area offered a “Lawn to Garden Rebate Program” which would pay up to $1,000 for homeowners or $10,000 for commercial, municipal or HOA’s. Basically $1 per square foot of lawn removed.
As previously noted in “What Impact Does Recycled Water Have On Plants In The Garden” this is the second in a series of data as provided from the UC Davis Report on “Landscape Plant Selection Guide For Recycled Water Irrigation“.
For this table, palms are listed in 4 columns. The first is its Botanical Name, second column is Common Name, third column is its tolerance to salt spray and fourth column is its tolerance to soil salinity.
Plants were watered with spray irrigation from recycled water. The big take-away with this list is almost all palms can handle RecycledH2O and thrive in its environment.