TRUTH: Uh, no. That’s like saying if you’re bankrupt, your first minimum-wage paycheck will solve all of your financial problems. California doesn’t just need rain. It needs a LOT of rain — and winter snow in the mountains — to start digging out from the water supply impacts of this multi-year drought. It could take years.
TRUTH: The water conservation measures don’t ration water, but they do limit certain types of water use — for example, you can’t hose down your driveway, you need to use a shut-off nozzle when you wash your car, and you can be fined if your landscape irrigation causes runoff onto sidewalks and into gutters. The measures also do mandate a certain percent reduction in water use. Check with your water retailer to see the percent you need to reduce by.
TRUTH: Droughts are cyclic, so it may feel like we’re always going into or out of a drought. Because of this, water use efficiency and conservation should be a lifestyle. We must start thinking differently and changing our lives permanently because even if we have one good year of rain, we won’t be out of the drought. Therefore we encourage people to make lifestyle changes and not merely shooting for compliance of state mandated measures.
TRUTH: Again, no. While the Action Plan does contain exemption provisions that could apply to a small minority of water users, they are not automatic, they would only allow exemption from the odd-even irrigation schedule provision, and there’s a significant verification process that must be adhered to.
The bottom line? The mandatory measures apply to EVERYONE, and the odd-even exemption is only applicable to a very, very small minority of water users.
TRUTH: No. You can water as much as you want until your landscape produces runoff. Then you will be in violation of a state mandated conservation measure and would be subject to written warnings and/or fines.
Solution to avoid runoff: It’s best to water in multiple short cycles allowing your plants to develop strong roots for a more drought-tolerant landscape. Typical Santa Clarita soil consists of clay and watering more than three minutes will normally cause runoff.
The Cycle and Soak method works by dividing the current run time into separate cycles. For example, if you are currently watering 12 minutes, water only 3 minutes per cycle, but run 4 cycles. Once you have completed the first 3 minute cycle, run a second, third and fourth cycle an hour apart so that you allow for soak time.
Tips for a successful Cycle and Soak:
- Keep your run times to three minutes or less.
- Multiple run times should be set an hour apart.
- The optimum time to water your landscape is between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
- Water less in shady areas.
- Watch your sprinklers for any clogs, broken sprinklers, runoff or wasted water.
RUTH: No, you are not exempt. If you have a smart controller and allow your controller to water every day, you need to change the days you water to abide by the watering schedule. This means your controller will water only on days that you allow, but it will water for a longer period of time. This is normal. Your controller knows how to “cycle and soak”.
TRUTH: Succulents work for some micro-climates in Santa Clarita; however, with our hot summers succulents can get sunburned and with our cold winters, they can eventually freeze.
You can find information in the following helpful resources:
- CLWA Turf Alternatives website
- SCV Friendly Plant Booklet
- CLWA Conservatory Garden<
TRUTH: While replacing your lawn with artificial turf may reduce your water usage, it won’t eliminate it completely.
Artificial turf is not water free:
- For sanitation purposes, water is needed to periodically clean the turf. Chemicals may also be needed occasionally.
- Because artificial turf can get very hot in direct sunlight, water is sometimes needed to cool the turf before it can be used comfortably.
Artificial turf has potential environmental concerns:
- Runoff from artificial turf may contain pollutants like heavy metals and chemicals that can reach surface water or groundwater. Results may vary for different artificial turf products.
- Artificial turf is a synthetic material with a relatively short lifespan ranging from 10-20 years that may eventually end up in landfills.
Trees, shrubs and groundcovers provide shade, absorb carbon dioxide, supply oxygen, reduce soil erosion, give wildlife a home, decrease energy use, reduce storm water runoff and save water.
TRUTH: Existing pools do not use as much water as a lawn of the same size. So if you are considering ways to conserve water outside your home, consider removing parts of your lawn and replacing the grass with drought tolerant landscaping. Also, don’t forget to cover your pool – that greatly helps prevent water loss from evaporation.
Truth: First, there is the cost to consider. The initial cost of building the plants is one factor. In addition, desalination plants remove salt from millions of gallons of water each day. That leftover salt/brine has to go somewhere and it can’t just be dumped directly back into the ocean. A sudden rise in saline levels in sea water leads to environmental problems for marine life along the coast. Consequently, long and expensive outfall lines have to be constructed to dilute the brine concentrations entering the ocean. Additionally, new costly pump stations and pipelines have to be constructed to convey the water to inland communities.
So although desalination plants may seem like the most simple, logical answer to California’s water woes, and it may be in some communities, it isn’t a viable solution for most of the state.
Truth: Water conservation is important, and any effort to make lifestyle changes to conserve is beneficial. Although shorter showers and washing only full loads of laundry and dishes are helpful conservation steps to take, there is a larger water-wasting culprit. Homeowners and consumers can make the biggest impact by not watering their lawns, or replacing thirsty lawns with drip irrigation and drought tolerant shrubs and plants.
Truth: Yes, the environment uses the largest share of California’s water with 50 percent going to everything from maintaining wetlands to vital Delta outflow. And of course, the gridlock in Sacramento certainly isn’t helping the matter.
But it’s important to know that despite environmental needs and political disagreements, we have not had sufficient rain or snow in the last four years to replenish our dwindling water reserves and part of the answer as a state is to adopt a lifestyle of water use efficiency.
Truth: Yes and No. When farmers face higher prices due to drought conditions, retail prices rise only slightly. A 10 percent increase for the farmer, usually means about a 2 to 3 percent increase for the consumer. As the drought drags on, consumers will likely see a higher increase in price, or more products imported from the global marketplace.
Truth: The water tables are dropping so the supply is not infinite. Right now, some 70 to 80 percent of lost surface water in California is being made up by pumping ground water. Because water has to percolate down through the soil to recharge our aquifers, it is harder and takes longer to replenish our ground water supplies than it does our surface reservoirs. It is vital as a state that we adopt better methods for managing this crucial water supply so that our wells don’t run dry.
Thanks to SFGate for this Water Myth Monday
Truth: We’ve said it before and we will say it again, we need several years of heavy rain, not just one, to replenish surface supplies and recharge groundwater aquifers.
This weather phenomenon that brings a warm band of water to the Pacific Ocean doesn’t always lead to storms on the West Coast but when it does, past records show that it doesn’t put an automatic end to drought conditions.
Thanks to SFGate for this water myth. http://bit.ly/SFGateWaterMyths
Truth: Of the water available, roughly 40 percent goes to farmers, 10 percent to urban uses and 50 percent environmental uses such as rivers, lakes, wetlands and refuges. There’s no true villain in California water policy. All sectors need to better use and manage water.
From the SFGate Blog http://bit.ly/SFGateWaterMyths
TRUTH: We might think the logical thing to do in a drought is to turn off the sprinklers and just let the lawn die, but it isn’t the best thing to do. Our soil needs care as much as our lawn or plants. Dry soil can lose oxygen, insects and its potential to absorb water. When this happens it becomes known as dead soil. Even in a drought it is important to water as often as allowed in order to support the micron-ecosystem that is happening in the soil, and to support its ability to soak in water. Dry, dead, compacted soil repels water and when rain or irrigation hits it, it doesn’t soak in, but rather it runs off very quickly. Soil needs to remain porous and able to absorb water so that the underground aquifers which supply half of our drinking water, can be recharged when it rains.
TRUTH: Trees are a vital part of our ecosystem and aid in water conservation and energy conservation. If not watered, a tree can become stressed and once stressed they are difficult to save. Trees have different watering requirements depending on the type and location. Most trees benefit from a few deep soakings a month rather than a couple of shallow waterings a few times a week. Therefore drip irrigation or soaker hoses are a more beneficial means of watering trees than are sprinklers. Be sure that irrigation is at the tree roots (which are spread than the trunk) rather than at the base of the tree.
For more information about tree care during a drought, see this article: https://clwa.org/news/seven-things-you-can-do-to-save-your-trees-during-a-drought
Truth: Once established (approximately 6 months or so depending upon the season), drought-tolerant plants need minimal watering, but they do need to be watered. New plants, including drought-tolerant plants, have a period of time where they are developing a strong root system. During that time they need a significant amount of water; however, once they are established, minimal watering with drip irrigation is usually sufficient.