Cycles of drought are a typical occurrence in California including here in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake Counties. We are in the midst of one of these cycles now with the worst years in 2013 and 2014 until enough rainfall occurred in 2015 to ease some of the concerns. All communities are still asking individuals to continue to voluntarily reduce their water use. Given our state’s propensity toward drought and that upwards of 45% of potable urban water is used outdoors, we’ve compiled some resources to help you, your family, and your community find ways to conserve water and still protect your landscape investment. “Landscaping can add between 7% and 15% to a home’s value” – Gallop. Paying attention to what drought response is in effect for your particular city or the area in which you live is important, but it is also worth an effort to consider the long-term value and benefit of your garden and landscape. Living through 2015 with up to a mandatory 25% outdoor water use restriction for the gardens we manage and those we design and build was uncomfortable but did not result in any long term harm. This is because of the sustainable practices, water use efficiency and water budgeting techniques the Gardenworks team applies to all of our customer’s properties.
What Can We Do?
One of the biggest and long-term impacts we can make is by setting up a Landscape Water Budget. Every landscape needs a certain amount of water to thrive. Scientifically, we calculate your landscape’s water needs using a formula, which is determined by the weather where you live, the types of plants on your property, type of irrigation system and the size of your landscape. We use this information to then program the watering for your landscape. Then using your water meter we compare actual outdoor water use to the budget. Even if you don’t have a water meter we can install one to insure that the appropriate amount water and no more is applied.
If you’d like to find other ways to conserve water during times of drought for your own home and property, we also recommend you adopt these Water Conservation tips for your home and garden.
Why Conserve Water?
- It is a precious resource
- Current drought conditions require taking active measures
- State restrictions: AB1881 model water efficient landscape ordinance (MWELO)
- SB7x7: 20% per capita reduction by 2020
- 2013: Driest year on record in many parts of California
- Infrastructure restrictions: not enough piping to supply water at maximum demand in summer
- Executive Order B-37-16 – water conservation will become a way of life in California
Local Drought Actions
Here are some additional resources to water conservation links for Sonoma County and California:
- California Water Resources Control Board: State Water Conservation Regulations – 25% statewide reduction
- Sonoma County Water Agency: Current water supply levels
- Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership: There’s a Drought On!
- Save Our Water
- City of Cloverdale
- City of Healdsburg
- Town of Windsor
- City of Santa Rosa
- City of Petaluma
Additional Gardenworks Drought Information