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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Where is the Rain?

I know I'm not the only one who has finally gotten to the point where this beautiful San Diego weather is actually feeling quite ominous.  The politicians are using the word "drought" to secure funding for water projects of all shapes and sizes.  You can read the various articles linked in this paragraph to see several different takes on what the drought means to us at home and at the state level.  Meanwhile, I argue that we all have a responsibility to our community to ensure adequate local water resources.  Don't wait for politicians and agencies to satisfy your water needs.  Please, please do reduce your water consumption.  Also consider storing water onsite in the guise as rainwater.  Also consider watering your thirsty plants with your gently used shower or laundry water in the guise of greywater!

Consider this:  There are over 290,000 single family homes in San Diego City alone.  If each of those homes put in 500 gallons of rainwater storage (4' diameter tank, $400 rebate from the city, $75 rebate from the county), we would have almost 15,000,000 gallons of local water onhand.   Relative to total water use this is just a drop in the bucket, but considering the multilayered cost of 15,000,000 gallons from our existing sources (environmental, economic, sustainable, disaster proof) this is a significant step we can all take to be part of the solution.

Here is a link for City Rain Barrel Rebates

Here is a link for County Rain Barrel Rebates

Also consider that a typical 4 person household with a newer, efficient washing machine, washing 4 loads a week produces 40 gallons a week, which equates to over 2000 gallons for the year.  Do you do more or less than this?  Is your washing machine old?  If so, you may be producing 50 gallons per load!   To put in a greywater system to water your trees, shrubs, and vines with this water can cost as little as $250 (DIY)  and usually not more than $750 (installed).   Wow!  2000 gallons for every washing machine in San Diego to ensure that we have trees and shrubs and vines that can feed us or at least reduce the scorching heat island effect by softening the sun's reflective potential.  It's worth it San Diego.  

What's really cool is that the Sweetwater Authority is giving $75 rebates for greywater systems in their region!! 

When can we have that from San Diego City?  And all the other parts of the County?

And that's certainly not all you can do.  Check out the following events and classes to learn more about reducing water consumption and living within our water budget.  Do it for yourself, and for your community!

  • This Saturday, January 25 at the Museum of Natural History in Balboa Park from 10-2, join me and a ton of other water related experts while we showcase strategies, technologies, and complexities related to water in Southern California
  • Take a Permaculture Class with the San Diego Sustainable Living Institute in May.  Learn more about creating a holistic design for your home, garden, community including choosing water strategies and plant pallets that are appropriate for our spaces. 
  • While you are at it, check out the Great Greywater Challenge.  Donate, offer your home as a workshop site, put your greywater system on the map.
  • For those of you further north, check out the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano!  It's an amazing education resource for sustainability.  With a number of classes including water harvesting, natural food prep, and backyard gardening, to it's Eco-Apprenticeship Program, and it's onsite store it's a wealth of information and resources.