Photo Credit: https://www.melissabagley.com
Creating a Waterwise Environment
Water. Our planet is 70% water. Does it really matter if we conserve water or not? I mean 70% is a lot, even if it goes down a few percentage points is that really that big of a deal? Well, only 1% of all that water on the earth is usable for us! So now that gives us a little more perspective. But let’s bring it closer to home, Santa Barbara County. We get most of our water resources from groundwater. How is groundwater replenished? You guessed it, RAIN! We have had years of drought and that has severely affected our groundwater supply. Ok, now I have your attention. You might be asking, what can I do to help conserve water here where I live? Well, let’s bring it even closer to home.
Doing Your Part to Conserve
Don’t you agree that we all use the resources on this beautiful
jewel of a planet, Earth? If we take
care of the resources and we use them wisely then we will be doing our part. We can’t do anyone else's part and they can’t do ours. So, what is our part? Our biggest usage of water is our landscaping. A traditional landscape uses 57,000 gallons of water in a year. It is a beautiful yard, green grass, flowers, trees, plants. Compare this to what a family of four uses in the house, 400 gallons. That’s like 10 baths per person. So, our landscape matters if we are concerned with water conservation. On the other hand, a drought-tolerant landscape uses 6,000 gallons, a 90% reduction. Now that is something to strive for.
What is a Drought Tolerant Landscape?
Just like the name suggests, it is a landscape that can tolerate drought or less watering. What are some suggestions from the Waterwise in Santa Barbara County website? Here are four of the top things we can do to conserve water.
Soil Matters: Add 1-2 inches of organic matter yearly: compost, worm castings, leaf mold, green manure. Then mulch to retain water.
Hydrozone: Plan your landscape ahead and group plants by their water needs.
Lawn Alternatives: Replace turf with groundcover, trees, shrubs; or remove plants in heavy foot traffic areas and replace them with decomposed granite.
Smart Irrigation: Switch out sprinklers for drip irrigation or soaker hose systems which minimize evaporation loss and focus watering on root systems of desired plants.
Plant Natives: Native plants typically require little maintenance. They need little to no water in addition to yearly rainfall, minimal fertilizing, and suffer less damage from pests. Find your perfect plants by visiting: waterwisegardeningsb.org
Just because we trade a traditional landscape with a drought-tolerant one doesn’t mean we are doing to have an ugly yard. Just the opposite. You know the old saying, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder"? Well, that means that when your neighbors see that you are concerned with water usage because you care that we all have enough water to live, then they will think your yard is very beautiful. Visit the waterwisegardeingsb.org to see all the amazing plants you can plant. Many native plants are also edible or medicinal. The Dare2DreamFarm stand offers many items handcrafted from native plants right there on the farm like soaps, oils, creams, and balms Isn’t that awesome?
What do you love most about nature? I love the mighty ocean and the stunning mountains. My family and I love to camp in the mountains, beaches, lakes, and rivers. I promise to clean up after ourselves when we use these beautiful places so that when you get there to enjoy those areas you can see all the beauty and none of our trash. Would you, please do the same when you enjoy creation? It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it does take some effort to preserve our precious jewel of space. If we all do our part, we can enjoy this gift forever.