This article was contributed by Shawn Novack with the San Benito County Water Resources Association.
Even when we receive a lot of rain in California, nature’s bounty of water is no longer enough to satisfy all the state’s demands, recharge overdrafted groundwater basins in the San Joaquin valley, or overcome the massive deficits suffered by California’s ecosystems and endangered fisheries. If the most straightforward definition of drought is the simple mismatch between the amounts of water nature provides and the amounts of water that humans and the environment demand, California is in a permanent drought.
Water conservation offers the quickest, most reliable and cheapest way to stretch our water supply to meet our immediate needs until long-term solutions are implemented. In fact, water conservation should be a part of everyday life… drought or no drought.
With over 50 percent of residential water use dedicated to landscape irrigation, it is the obvious choice to focus conservation efforts on landscapes. Lawns in our area use up to 60 inches of water per year to keep them green and lush. Our area receives 13-15 inches of rain on average. That’s why the San Benito County Water Resources Association encourages residents to use plants that are “climate appropriate”. Try to use plants that can thrive on our local rainfall or only need a small amount of additional water. There’s nothing wrong with lawns, especially if you have children, pets, or like to entertain. But if the only time you’re on your lawn is when you’re mowing it, you really don’t need all that grass. Not only will you save water and money by planting climate appropriate plants, maintenance will be less once a drought tolerant garden is established.
The San Benito County Water Resources Association has a lists of drought tolerant and native plants that do well in San Benito County. We also have free Water-Wise landscape plans, three different designs! And we can assist you with setting your irrigation controller and inspecting your irrigation system and making adjustments and recommendations if needed.
May is Water Awareness Month and we urge all citizens, businesses, industries, institutions and public agencies to review their water use and water systems for water use efficiency and to contact the San Benito County Water Resources Association for water saving ideas and assistance.
For more information, go to www.wrasbc.org or call them at (831) 637-4378.