The drought in California is real.
What is a drought? According to USGS, “A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. When rainfall is less than normal for several weeks, months, or years, the flow of streams and rivers declines, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and the depth to water in wells increases. If dry weather persists and water-supply problems develop, the dry period can become a drought.”
When California Department of Water Resources measured the statewide water content of the Sierra snow pack on April 1st, 2014, it measured only 5% of average. The Sierra snow pack provides Californians with about one-third of water used by cities and farms. The last several consecutive and dry winters have made California’s water year of 2014, the third driest in the past 119 years! To top that off, 2015 remains California’s the warmest calendar year to date as of May 1.
It’s so severe that, California State Governor, Jerry Brown sent out an Executive Order mandating a 25 percent reduction in water use statewide for all urban water users compared with 2013 usage on April 1, 2015.
So, what can you do to help save water? Here are some ideas.
Use rain barrels. It’s not too late – forecast models predict rain showers in several areas in California. Next week, Lake Tahoe should see several days of thunderstorms so you can get those rain barrels and let the water from your roof gutters drain into these 50 gallon barrels.
Take a shower instead of a bath. It is estimated that a bath can take 40 gallons of water whereas a 5-minute shower only takes 10 gallons of water.
Collect water in the shower. When you are waiting for your daily shower to warm up, use a 5-gallon Home Depot bucket and collect that cold water. It’s clean water going down the drain. Use it to water your plants or pour it into your rain barrel for later use.
Place a bowl by your kitchen sink. Many times we pour ourselves a full glass of water anticipating to drink it all. Sometimes we don’t and have remaining water, well, instead of dumping it into the sink, dump it into the bowl. After a few half-glasses the bowl will be full enough to water your plants.
Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. Dentists recommend you brush your teeth for two minutes, if you shut off the water during this time you can save up to 2 gallons of water.
Re-use your bath towels. Your washing machine uses about 40 gallons per load, if you use your towel twice, you can cut usage in half.
For all the gardeners, myself included try out these tips.
Use mulch in your plant pots and landscaping. It will hold the moisture in and keep the soil from drying up so quickly.
Water your plants in the early morning hours so the moisture will seep in and stay instead of later in the day when the water is more likely to evaporate. Also, don’t water when it’s windy as the water will be blown onto sidewalks or driveways.
And, look into drought resistant plants and flowers. They do not require as much water and they flourish in the hot weather.
For those who can stomach it, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” Or, you can try adding plastic bottles filled with rock or gravel into your toilet tank so it will trick your tank into believing it has enough water to flush.
“Save water. The World is in your hands.”
Do you have any other water-conserving ideas? Please leave a comment with your tip for everyone to see.