It’s time to stop hosing down patios, walkways
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order encouraging all Californians to reduce water use by 15 percent as 50 of the state’s 58 counties, or about 42 percent of the overall population, are now in a drought-related state of emergency.
Newsom stated that the order is voluntary (for now at least) and called for smaller measures such as taking shorter showers and reducing landscape watering.
Orange County is one of eight designated as a severe drought area, while LA and 49 other counties are in extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Leisure World Mutuals, their contracted landscapers, as well as landscapers for GRF trust property have been alerted to the need to conserve water.
Seal Beach City staff plans to meet with the GRF to discuss best practices in water conservation. Some Mutuals have already scheduled specific watering times.
LW residents are asked to refrain from:
• Washing down porches, patios and sidewalks.
• Overwatering outdoor landscapes to cause excess runoff.
• Using leaky hoses or hoses that don’t have shutoff nozzles.
Newsom has not specified whether mandatory restrictions would be required in the future, but said that Californians are using less water now than they did before the 2013-2016 drought, the last time statewide mandatory restrictions were imposed.
Residential use in California is 16 percent below 2013 levels. Still, on average, Americans use more than 80 gallons of water per day. But there is plenty people can do to conserve. In small everyday ways, individuals can help by:
• Fixing leaks, saving 110 gallons of water each month.
• Installing high-efficiency toilets, saving 19 gallons per person each day.
• Recycling indoor water to use outdoors.
• Keeping showers under five minutes, saving 12.5 gallons per shower when using a water-efficient showerhead.
• Turning off water when brushing teeth or shaving, saving 10 gallons per person per day.
• Washing dishes by hand and using a minimal quantity of detergent, saving 50 to 150 gallons every month.
Most Californians use more water outdoors than indoors. In some areas, 50 percent or more of daily water use is for lawns and outdoor landscaping. Paying attention to landscapes and sprinklers can save water on a larger scale. People and Mutuals can help in a variety of ways:
• Plant drought-resistant landscape as was just done in Mutual 2’s green belt area. The low maintenance common area features cacti, succulents and California native, drought-tolerant, flowering plants. In this area alone, LW will save about 83,000-plus gallons of water every year, according to Mutual 2 officials.
• One of the primary causes of water loss is evaporation. Instead of watering during the day when the weather is at its peak, water in the morning or evening to allow foliage to fully absorb the water.
• Another way to retain moisture is using mulch around the base of trees. The mulch helps regulate temperature while releasing nutrients into the soil.
•Adjusting sprinkler heads and fixing leaks can save 12-15 gallons every time they turn on, and a leak as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month. If you see water waste in your Mutual, alert a director.
• Using a broom to clean outdoor areas can save 8-18 gallons every minute.
In the previous drought, mandatory restrictions at the state level were first imposed in April 2015, when Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order mandating a 25-percent reduction in water use, and the restrictions were enforced by fines.
Several locations in California are already under mandatory water restrictions imposed by cities and local water districts. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the city of Healdsburg banned the use of sprinklers and drip irrigation systems for all residential, commercial and industrial customers, and the city of Sonoma announced a limit on watering lawns to only two days a week.
Visit SaveOurWater.com for more tips, tools and incentives—including rebates.
You can also view photos of past California State Fair water-wise garden exhibits for ideas on how to create your own low-water use landscape.