Our Governor has declared a drought emergency for California. The state rainfall and snowpack has been lower than average for most of the recent years, and reservoir reserves are dwindling. My county has been slightly over average in its rainfall this season but most of our water comes from the Sierra snows and the Colorado River. So this crisis is very real for us down here as well.
At this point we’re on call for a voluntary water reduction, but if the rains fail us people will be required to reduce their water use 20%, and then–if things get worse–by 40% or more. Since landscapes consumes the majority of the water, our county water authority has started an advertising campaign to deliver these water-overuse doorknob hangers with the Sunday paper. It’s also available online: here.
There are checkboxes for “Your sprinklers are watering the pavement,” “Your sprinklers were on during the rain,” “You have a broken sprinkler, and/or your irrigation system is leaking,” “Your sprinklers are on every day” and “Your sprinklers are on during the day.” My local shopping center is a huge offender in the first category and will be getting a hang tag from me.
But this program is mostly about sprinklers and watering habits and doesn’t really address the underlying causes. There really need to be big boxes saying, “Your huge expanse of grass and water-thirsty plants are attractive, but I’d like to show you how you can have a terrific-looking yard that requires almost no additional water,” or “This extremely well-watered golf course has no place in the desert that is San Diego County.”
The very green golf course in the local canyon bottom would get a violation tag if that were the case. At least, to their credit, they let the driving range go brown with the end of the rains. Maybe in California golf could morph into a seasonal winter sport, like skiing? Maybe I’m delusional?