Water conservation is something that every individual must live with in California. Water may seem abundant, but it’s in very short supply now that California’s drought conditions continue. The snow pack in the Northern Sierra Mountains is so low that the once overflowing waterfalls in Sequoia National Park are now trickles of water.
The drought which is in its fourth year was clearly evident this last summer in Sequoia when my family enjoying our annual camping trip, noticed that some large pine tress no longer sprouted branches with green needles instead the needles had turned a rusty brown. We asked at the ranger station and they said those trees had died.
Water was never something that I never thought about, just turn on the faucet and there it was, flowing freely. It still flows freely from all faucets, however there are now mandatory water restrictions and reductions in place by local and state authorities. It certainly means that I have had to become conservative when using water.
Most of my neighbors have gotten around to conserving water by letting their lawns die. There’s nothing worse than driving down the street and seeing brown grass. It really brings the value of the neighborhood down. Others have got on the bandwagon and replaced their lawns with California native plants or California friendly plants as they’re called, along with lots of sand colored or white rocks. This just makes the front of the house look so much like a desert and the ground will stay hot because there isn’t anything to absorb the heat. At least, the grass makes the house look cool and refreshing.
I bought my house with the dream that I could have my own patch of green grass. While lawns are big consumers of water my patch of grass is the size of a postage stamp and doesn’t require much watering. I refuse to tear it out and put in California friendly plants or white rocks. Max loves to roll around and lounge on the grass. Yes, Max and I are rebels, and we love our green grass, but there are ways to deal with the drought. The following are ways that I conserve water and you can too and still have beautiful grass and plants.
- Water the grass at night when the temperature is cooler. In the absence of the sun and the heat the water will stay on the grass longer.
- Water on alternate days and water early so plants can absorb moisture before it is lost to evaporation.
- Leave an empty milk carton under the sink and whenever you have extra water from boiling noodles or steaming veggies, let it cool before pouring it through a strainer into the jug.
- Fix all leaky faucets.
- Use a watering sprinkler that waters slowly. This will give the water a chance to sink into the grass.
- Water with liquid grass food. This keeps the grass fed with proper nutrients so that it can continue to grow and look healthy even though you are using less water.
- Collect rain water whenever possible. Use this to water your plants.
- If your fridge makes ice then put the ice on the plants. It will melt into your plants over time and soak into the roots.
- If you have to wash your car, drive it onto the grass so the washing does double duty.
- If you have an ice cooler that has cold drinks sitting in ice dump the water on the grass after the party.
- Collect water from the shower. While the water is running and warming up to your ideal temperature place a bucket to catch the water. It usually catches up to five gallons this way.
Water is precise in drought stricken California, however even the little things make a difference to the environment. Start today, and you’ll realize it has never been easier to save water.