Actions to Help with the Sacramento Drought Conditions
California and local government are clear about the Greater Sacramento region being in a drought condition. Following will be some numbers about the water situation. You can judge if you think it is a full on drought or something else.
But saving water is always a good idea. This DIY or Do It Yourself is about ways to save water. If you are on a well system it is always important to save water. And if you pay the water bill by the amount of water you use then these ideas can help with keeping more money for your family.
The chart above is the Sacramento River drought status – Based on 8 Station Index (8SI) Percentiles. It is a very dramatic chart. But charts can make the case of the people creating the chart. Here is more data from the government that measures water in Reservoir Storage, Snowpack Water Content, Precipitation Index Accumulation and Daily Precipitation (in inches) for Selected Stations which helps with understanding how much water there is and how big a problem we have.
Here are a few ideas of how to save water in the home.
Flush toilet only when needed. Ultra-low flush toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush.
Run the dishwasher only when full. Just saving one dishwasher run can save 2-4.5 gallons per load.
Don’t leave water running while rinsing dishes. 2.5 gallons per minute (standard flow per minute sink faucet at 80 psi)
Fill the bathtub halfway or less; this can save 12.5 gallons (average bath is 25 gallons)
Take five minute showers instead of 10 minute showers. This can save 5 gallons with a water efficient showerhead (1 gallon per minute)
Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving. Sounds small but can save approximately 10 gallons per day.
Wash only full loads of clothes. This can preclude using 15-45 gallons per load
Fix leaky faucets. Plus this can prevent other home repairs 15-20 gallons per day per leak
Fix leaky toilets. Again a sounds small but this can add up fast, at the rate of 30-50 gallons per day per toilet.
Next are a few ideas of how to save water outside the home.
Watering only in the early morning or late evening will save water because cooler temperatures reduce evaporation.
Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust so that you are not watering the sidewalk or street.
Put mulch around trees and plants to cool soil and reduce evaporation. This will also keep weeds down.
Consider installing a drip irrigation system. They apply water precisely and with less waste.
Choose plants based on their adaptability to your climate. This can change the whole layout and structure of your landscaping. If you want to redesign landscapes, consider Water Efficient Landscape (WEL).
There are live gardens that are water efficient. The Water Efficient Landscape (WEL) garden of the Sacramento region PDF has a list of the type and location with web site info. (attach link from us up load pdf)
When creating your own Water Efficient garden remember these few points:
Use regionally appropriate, low water-using and native plants. Once established, these plants require little water beyond normal rainfall. Also, because native plants are adapted to local soils and climatic conditions, they rarely require the addition of fertilizer and are more resistant to pests and diseases than are other species.
Group plants according to their water needs. Grouping vegetation with similar watering needs into specific “hydrozones” reduces water use and protects the plants from both under watering and over watering by allowing you to water to each zone’s specific needs.
Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants. This will help to reduce evaporation, inhibit weed growth, moderate soil temperature, and prevent erosion. Types of mulches include bark chips, grass clippings, straw, leaves, stones, and brick chips. Leave a few inches of space between trunks of woody plants and organic mulches to prevent rot.
Be selective when adding turf areas. How and where turf is placed in the landscape can significantly reduce the amount of irrigation water needed to support the landscape. Lawns require a large amount of supplemental water and generally greater maintenance than other vegetation. Use turf where it has a practical function, such as in play or recreation areas. Grouping turf areas can increase watering efficiency and significantly reduce evaporative and runoff losses. Select a type of grass that can withstand drought periods and become dormant during hot, dry seasons. Reducing or eliminating turf areas altogether further reduces water use.
In addition to drought-tolerant plants, water-saving irrigation systems help in constructing sustainable landscapes. Conservation of resources is a big factor in the decisions many home owners make when landscaping. Whether you are looking to conserve water, save energy or to create a low maintenance landscape, planning ahead will help the whole plan come together.
Saving water is always a good idea. It saves you money. It saves water resources agencies from implementing draconian measures. It is good for the environment. And it can add value to your home. Saving water is one of those things that helps everyone and hurts no one.