Tag Archives: water restrictions

I Guess My Attitude Toward Watering Will Be Different from the Neighbors’ in Our New Home

According to the realtor managing the house we’re renting, there aren’t any watering restrictions in our new neighborhood. That surprised me, since it’s still southern California.

I could quickly see that many people there aren’t too worried about water. They were watering in the heat of the day, with lots of overspray onto sidewalks and the street.

The watering timer in our house was set to water twice a day, 15 minutes at each spot. Yikes! And the lawn still has brown spots because not all the sprinkler heads are adjusted right or working.

I’ve managed to fix the programming part at least. We don’t quite have the time yet to fix the broken heads.

Still, the idea that there aren’t any water restrictions amazes me. I still intend to limit our water use, no matter what the neighbors are doing. Even when you’re stuck with a lawn, there’s only so much watering needed.

Our Water Restrictions Are Now Official!

Actually, they were official on July 1. I’ve just been too busy trying to find a new place to live to write about it before now.

Ours require paying attention. We can water Saturday, Monday or Wednesday. That’s hard because that’s not how the settings on my sprinkler timer works. I can schedule for every day, every other day or every third day. Doesn’t quite work.

I guess it will be nice to get moved and not have to worry about the sprinklers here. Just have to find out what the restrictions are in the new area, because they will exist.

I like how they’re doing it where my sister lives better. They just restrict the time of day. I could wish for a time of watering limit too or even a number of days per week restriction there, just to really emphasize the need to cut back, but at the same time it makes sense to say “only water when it’s not all going to evaporate immediately because it’s really miserably hot and windy out.”

A combination of the two would be good in other words. Limit time of day, length of watering and how often each week but not days of the week. I could program that pretty well into my system.

I can’t help but suspect that the restrictions are so simple where my sister lives because there are so many relatively new developments, all with Homeowner’s Associations, which typically have rules about how green a lawn must be kept. I’m sure they don’t like it when homeowners can’t keep up due to restrictions, so I can picture them campaigning to make it easier to keep having those perfect green lawns.

Personally, I still want either rocks or native plants in my front yard. Much more interesting than lawns. And then fewer worries on keeping the front watered on schedule, just have to deal with the back.

Efficient Lawn Watering

Much of southern California is getting into stricter water restrictions right now, with a goal of cutting all water use by at least 20%. That’s a tough goal when you consider how many people have already been conserving. Most lawns in our area show it.

The typical restriction is along the lines of allowing people to water on certain days of the week between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m., and limiting sprinkler time to 10 minutes. Also they want people to keep an eye out for obvious water wastes, such as broken sprinklers, obvious leaks and sprinklers spraying more on sidewalks or streets than they should.

These restrictions are pretty good for cutting back water use for irrigation, which is a huge part of residential water use.

For the best results for your lawn, you need to water about 1 inch per week. That’s easy enough to measure if you put out an open, empty tuna can. If you can do it in one shot you should be able to reach the deeper roots of grass, which is the most effective.

Believe me when I say I don’t water mine this much, and it’s kind of brown. But my garden looks good.

Mowing less is also good. Taller grass shades the soil, and so less water evaporates from it. The grass also is then able to better stand getting less water.

My own favorite tip is to find more native plants to put in, rather than your typical lawn. There are grasses that do better with less water. My city suggests a list of plants that are California-friendly (PDF, pretty big). They also suggest only maintaining as much lawn as you need, and having drought resistant plants for the rest of the yard.

Cloth Diapers vs. Water Use Reduction

Talking with my mother the other day about our plans for cloth diapering baby Selene once she’s big enough to fit the bumGenius 3.0 diapers we have brought up a very good point.

Cloth diapers take a lot of water to wash.

Recent storms may change matters somewhat, but all the talk has been on water restrictions lately. I’m really hoping this doesn’t turn out to be a problem.

However, I do have things I would give up sooner than my cloth diapers, if it’s left up to me. I’d be quite delighted if my landlord would let us just kill the front lawn, and maybe add in some drought tolerant plants instead. The gopher seems to be leaving things alone at long last, thanks, I would imagine, due to the hunting prowess of the neighbor’s cats. I know they caught at least one gopher.

I’ve also been scolding my husband for some of the ways he wastes water already. I don’t think he’ll go for a bucket in the shower just yet, but if things get bad this year he might.

If the discussed water restrictions hold this year, things could get interesting. I hope to see enough rain, or rather enough snow in the mountains, to get us out of the drought, but if that doesn’t happen I have no doubt that restrictions will happen.

But I just can’t see giving up the cloth diapers. My mother is concerned that it might be a sensible solution, even though she agrees disposables are more of a waste overall. Going to have to keep on planning as the season goes on.