Tips for water wise living
By: Ella Golovey, Conservation Intern
Rain storms have come to the rescue! We finally received enough rainfall to bring our neighbors in Northern California out of a drought, but it cannot erase all of the damage that our state has experienced for the last five years. It may have solved some short-term problems, but not our long term problems.
Even though our snowpack is well above average and the reservoirs are filling up, groundwater reservoirs are still not replenished. The rain storms have been concentrated in the northeastern portion of the state, and much of the central and southern portion is still suffering. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a portion of California is still experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions, particularly in Santa Barbara County.
Groundwater is water stored beneath the land surface and is recharged by rain and snow melt that seeps through the ground and is held in pores and crevices in rock. In California, groundwater provides about 30-46 percent of the total water supply, and up to 100 percent in some communities (CA Department of Water Resources). We have routinely pumped out more water than is being replenished, and we rely on groundwater for crops and drinking water, especially during the drought. In order to ensure this resource will be available for us in the future, we need to give our aquifers a chance to recover and continue to practice water conservation.
The State Water Resources Control Board revised watering conservation requirements and eased regulations last summer, but there are still ongoing requirements which are listed below:
1. Even number address may irrigate on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and odd number addresses may irrigate on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
2. Irrigation of commercial and residential landscapes cannot occur between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.
3. Any type of water flow that causes excessive water flow onto adjoining sidewalks, driveway, or street is prohibited.
4. No washing down surfaces unless you’re using recycled water or a low-volume, high-pressure cleaning machine.
5. You may only wash your vehicle if you use a hand-held bucket or hose equipped with a self-closing water shut-off nozzle.
The drought helped us realize how important our water is. We should strive to make water conservation a new lifestyle and continue to be conscious of the ways we use it. Even though California’s drought is weakening, let’s continue to be water wise and give our aquifers a chance to bounce back. If we do our part, and the rain keeps falling, we will surely be on our way to recovery!