By Jeanne Meadow. First published in Let’s Talk Plants! June 2015, No. 249.
The California drought is serious.
Our state’s mild climate has helped make California one of the top producing agricultural areas in the world, and one of the most desirable places to live. But this growth has crippled us. The water we have used was pumped out of the ground, and imported via dams, canals, and massive water projects from sources far away. Now, the lack of rain and snowpack to recharge aquifers and rivers and reservoirs leaves us facing difficult decisions. The State Water Resources Control Board has mandated percentage cuts by region. Check with your local water company to learn your own numbers. As of today, the rationing cuts range from 4 percent to 36 percent. Yes, 36 percent.
We believed that water was unlimited and have been wasting it for years. Sort of like not knowing your checking account balance but hey, you still have checks left so you keep writing them and not caring about any overdraft fees. Except the bank cares, and then charges you for your inattention. So here we are, wondering who’s going to pay the overdraft fees, and then realizing it’s going to be us.
You love your garden. It is a place that brings you closer to nature and offers relaxation and a place to step away from the stresses of life. It was probably a big investment, both in dollars and sweat equity. What can you do now? There are many things you can do that have large price tags, but here are a few with less impact on your wallet:
Know how much water you use. Pull out your old bills; know where you stand on your usage. Maybe there are still reductions you can make. (Or you have already cut back enough.)
Turn off your irrigation for one week, and each day, make an assessment of how far you can push your plants. It might surprise you how sturdy they are.
Another good test is to cut your irrigation in half and to observe how your plants react.
Use compostable plates, cups, etc., for less dish washing. (I love this one!)
Contact your local water company officials and encourage them to offer recycled water.
Attend a local meeting and see what your paid representatives are doing for you.