It’s no secret that California is a drought-prone region. It is important to use our water resources more efficiently so we can combat periods of intense water scarcity during the summer. Many of our everyday practices waste and pollute water, but making small changes is easy, inexpensive, and can save taxpayers money in years to come. It’s common knowledge that it helps to take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth, and clean outdoor areas with brooms and rakes instead of a hose, but there’s a whole world of water-saving strategies beyond those few strategies.
This approach to gardening and landscaping works in harmony with the natural landscape conditions of the Bay Area. Did you know that landscape irrigation is one of the largest uses of potable (drinkable) water in Union City? Designing landscapes to favor low-water demand plants adapted to our climate is one of the best ways to reduce water use. Native Californian plants are well-suited to the climate of the Bay Area, and require little water and low levels of maintenance. Click here for a list of ‘Water Wise’ plants!
To accompany wise plant choices, use efficient irrigation systems that automatically measure water levels so your sprinklers don’t run while it rains. Ideally, set irrigation systems to water plants in the early morning or late evening - watering in the middle of the day allows the sun’s heat to evaporate water. You can even go one step further and collect rainwater and gray water for irrigation purposes. Gray water is water that is still clean but has been rendered undrinkable by household use – for example, laundry water, dish water, even bathwater. As long as you use non-toxic soaps, gray water is perfect for landscape irrigation.
The next step in Bay-friendly landscaping is forgoing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. When it rains, these substances are washed into stormdrains and flow to the Bay, negatively affecting wildlife and people. Use compost to nourish plants, either from your own yard or from the City, and seek out pest-resistant plants or use natural pest control methods.
What else can you do? Check out the EPA’s water-saving tips for more easy ways to save water.
Simple Steps to Take
- Seek out leaks and fix them as soon as possible
- Sweep sidewalks and steps instead of hosing them off
- Switch out current faucets and shower heads with water-saving faucets and shower heads