The unusually wet winter season in the Coachella Valley hasn’t solved all of our drought issues, as despite the abundance of rain, the hydrologic issues from California’s years-long drought will take years to recover. It’s due to this fact – and the recognition that California generally is perennially in a state of drought -- that the governor has determined that the stringent irrigation requirements implemented over the last few years will remain in place. In a sense, this is GREAT news, in that the beautiful drought tolerant aesthetic most Southern Californians are learning to appreciate in their landscaping is as relevant as ever.
The hard truth is that California will always be short of water. Many entities compete for our fickle supply of water: Agriculture and food production use 80% of our water; but this scale of water use in California is not sustainable. We are pumping groundwater at a faster rate than it can be replenished. As a result, groundwater levels in much of the state, including the once-vast reserves beneath the Central Valley, have been declining for nearly a century. Our recent wet winter will not reverse the long-term decline of water in California. The sobering news is that resolving our issue of drought doesn’t solve our problem of groundwater sustainability.
What can we do to be a part of the solution? For starters, the water efficient design and landscaping implemented to mitigate water shortages in Southern California are no less important in sustainability efforts. Choosing drought tolerant plants, which can be as beautiful as they are practical, is a wise decision for homeowners, HOAs, apartment complexes, recreation areas, etc. For a great list of drought tolerant plants, please see our past blogs about bulletproof plants: http://www.rgapd.com/blog/item/3-bulletproof-plants, http://www.rgapd.com/blog/item/10-bulletproof-plants-summer-2016-edition.
Another helpful resource is the Coachella Valley Water District’s website. They have many links and articles on water use restrictions, reporting water waste and water conservation. http://www.cvwd.org/31/Conservation