There are many things residents and businesses can do to save water in the upcoming months.
The Castaic Lake Water Agency is asking people to use a little common sense to become waterwise as temperatures climb and water supplies become less available.
The agency, in concert with local, county and state support, as well as that of Home Depot, is launching a massive ad campaign to remind residents to cut back their water use by 10 percent – before the cutback becomes a necessity.
“The average home uses 600 gallons of water a day, which is far beyond what’s necessary,” explained Dan Masnada, the General Manager of CLWA. “Seventy percent of that is outside. We’re here to show you some easy and inexpensive ways to have a beautiful garden.
Amid a display of drought-tolerant plants, some of them lush palms that towered over the speakers, a variety of people shared their commitments, from business leaders to city officials.
“It’s no exaggeration that California is facing a water challenge, said Mark Cowin, Deputy Director of the state Department of Water Resources. “It is a crisis that has to be recognized. We anticipate lower runoff from the snow pack and reservoirs this summer will be at record low levels. The ecosystem is crashing in the (Sacramento area) Delta and the recovery will take years.”
Water allocated to Southern California from the delta will not be pumped from December 2008 through June 2009 in order to give the endangered Delta smelt a chance to reestablish itself.
Families who conserve at home don’t always conserve at work, since the financial responsibility – i.e., the bill – doesn’t hit them directly.
“We need to create awareness whether we have landscaping at our businesses or not,” said Julie Weith, Chairman of the Valley Industrial Association. “Ironically, our children are much more astute and have a different mentality with it comes to water conservation, it comes naturally to them. But the most important thing is to realize that it’s going to get worse. We can’t take water supplies for granted.”
Castaic resident Rita Veen held the audience captive with her secrets to cutting her water bill by more than half. By removing her lawn and installing a raised garden bed with a drip system and filling the gaps with large area plants like roses and paths made with pebbles and bark, she has cut her $50 monthly bill to $20.
To give residents a start on their own 10 percent cutbacks, here’s a list of the top 10 outdoor water conservation tips:
- Adjust sprinklers. Up to 80 percent of residential water goes to maintaining yards. CLWA suggests not watering the day the lawn is cut to save water and improve the health of the lawn.
- Check sprinkler systems for broken or clogged sprinkler heads and replace them. Make sure yards are being watered and not sidewalks or driveways.
- If you see water runoff when the lawn is watered, that could mean the lawn needs aeration.
- Fix leaks! A quarter-gallon per minute leak wastes over 10,000 gallons per month. A leaking flapper on a toilet also increases flows at the water treatment plant.
- Plant drought-tolerant plants. For advice on appropriate and native plants, visit Home Depot or the ConservatoryGarden at 27234 Bouquet Canyon Road for ideas that will work well in the valley.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean up leaves or grass clippings. Make sure to put them into a greenwaste recycling container to save landfill space as well.
- Get an adjustable hose nozzle for outdoor use. Five minutes of an open hose running uses the same amount of water as a 20-minute shower.
- Take shorter showers. Cutting 2 minutes off your shower time can save 600 gallons a month for a family of four. Also, make sure the shower head is a water-efficient model (available from your water purveyor).
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.
- Wash only full loads. This can save up to 20 gallons by washing full loads instead of several small loads.