Dirt Therapy: When it Comes to Saving Water, Just Think About it

Dirt Therapy is a regular column in the Capistrano Dispatch written by GNTG founder,  Marianne Taylor The situation is getting dire and California needs everyone on board

Is there anyone in California that doesn’t know we’re in a drought? Has the media told you over and over that the drought police are coming? It’s looking pretty serious with the water warnings. As of July 15, 2014, new state rules were passed cracking down on water waste.

We’ve been informed that residents, businesses and public entities will face daily fines up to $500. The infractions include: washing driveways and sidewalks; watering ornamental landscaping or turf with potable water that causes runoff; using a hose to wash a motor vehicle, unless the hose is outfitted with a nozzle; and using potable water in a fountain, unless the water is recirculated.

I’m not sure who the drought police are but I do know that I do not want to wait to have an infraction if I can make simple changes in my daily life in and around my home.

Do your part. Starting today, use less water.

Time your showers to two minutes—the Navy way, get wet, soap up, wash off. While you’re at it, add a bucket in your shower and collect water to use on your plants.

Calculate how much landscape water you’re actually using. Recently, I saw my husband staring at his watch while he was filling a five gallon bucket full of water. I asked him, “What are you doing? Washing your car?” No, he said, “I’m figuring out how much water we use hand watering our plants.” Turns out, it costs us about $3 to water for 30 minutes. Knowing this information is essential to getting in control of our water bills and water use.

Seventy-five percent of our state’s water use is in landscaping. Now is the time to get on board and lose the lawn—it’s that dire of a situation.

There are five great reasons for losing the lawn. A typical lawn consumes 10,000 gallons a year—think of the reduction in your water bill.

Gas-powered lawn equipment emits 11 times the emissions of a new car for each hour of operation, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency—think of the clean air and peace and quiet—no more mowers or blowers.

Americans put 23 million tons of lawn clippings a year into landfills. By replacing your lawn, you will be reducing your carbon footprint. Drought tolerant landscaping uses 30 to 50 percent less water than turf—think savings in the bank over the years.

Replacing your lawn with native plants, perennial grasses and ground covers also support beneficial insects, like butterflies, and birds—think of a healthy Earth for future generations.

We took out our lawn years ago and created a natural native garden, along with a butterfly habitat and water fountain that uses recycled water. Not sure how to get started? Check your local garden nurseries regarding complimentary garden consultants to help you lay out your yard, select plants and install proper irrigation. It doesn’t have to be a chore, either. Recruit the family to reinvent your gardens and build a place to play and relax. Be sure to check your city’s water department and ask about any lawn rebate program.

With each household reducing their water use, in and out of the house, we’re helping to make California a greener place.