Pacific Coast Gardening forum: It's official: mandatory water rationing in CA

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South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Apr 1, 2015 4:43 PM CST
It's official now... 25% mandatory rationing. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-snowpack-2015033...

If the Sierras are this brown and dry now, I hate to see what it is going to look like up there, come fall. I go hiking in the East Sierra each fall, and last trip (early October) things were looking pretty dry up there - and this was a year after that huge wildfire just on the northern border of (and inside of) Yosemite. (I drove through the burn area last fall; it was pretty extensive.) I hope we aren't in for another terrible fire up there - or elsewhere in the state.

Yesterday, I stopped at the local post office, and noticed that two redwoods on the property are brown and either dying or dead. I have to wonder if they cut back (or cut off) the water... which got me wondering about trees elsewhere in this part of the state.

We have a row of redwoods on the north border of our property - actually, they are on our neighbor's property. We have been watering them since we moved here thirteen years ago, otherwise they would have all died (as they were in serious decline and the neighbors weren't watering them). There is not much else green between the neighbor's house and our property. Those trees look stressed as it is, and I'm afraid to cut back water to their root zone areas... if we lose that line of trees (there are several) it's going to be ugly...

Aside from that particular concern, I'm trying to figure out where I can cut back on watering without killing things off... Of big concern, or course, are the other trees and shrubs, which are everywhere here (so cutting back water in any bed inevitably affects some trees and/or shrubs).

Apart from an across-the-board water cut, I won't grow as many veggies as last year (I will do some cukes and basil though, as well as preserving a Japanese strain of bunching onions). That will let me turn some heads off. I'll try to find a suitable in-ground spot for some of the potted plants, which should also help (less frequent watering needed than in the pots).

Apart from that... Confused I think that I may start saving "left-over" water (from water bottles, said water which would otherwise be tossed) in a one gallon container, and use that for watering pots. (We can't stand the tap water here; it tastes somewhat metallic, and occasionally smells strongly of chlorine. While we use it for cooking, and making ice cubes, if we want to actually drink water, we buy Aquafina.) I guess I could recycle the dog's water dish, too...

So let's hear your ideas for water saving...
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 1, 2015 5:10 PM CST
sorry, my first thought was pretty glib.....

It's painful, but will get worse and I would think the first thing to have to let go would be the redwood trees.....or decide that they are more important to you and let everything else go.....Redwoods and grass would go first....

My brother and sister in law live in Sonora and it's the first thing I've told them..."You need to get out of there...now.....not next year or the year after...." They've been there a long time and have been trying to decide where to retire to...if there's a choice, pick a place that gets rain.....that was my first priority.....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
[Last edited by wcgypsy - Apr 1, 2015 5:15 PM (+)]
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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 1, 2015 5:15 PM CST
I lived in a place like that once for a about a year and a half. I finally up one day and had enough. Packed stuff up, told hubby we were leaving.

The end of that nightmare.

Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 1, 2015 5:27 PM CST
yep, me too.....Took 5 big truckloads to get us up here and we left behind tons and tons of stuff, but had to be done. I think I may have posted that an updated aerial view of our old property shows an acre and a half of 'dead'. I just now heard from a friend still in Fallbrook who's taking out all of their fruit trees except two avocados and everything she's
been planting for years is on drip and extremely xeric....

I can imagine this is also going to affect RE sales and home prices.....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Apr 1, 2015 6:33 PM CST
I took the Sonora Pass two years ago, about when that fire was in the last stages of being snuffed out. (I was trying to avoid the smoke on Tioga Road on my way to the East Sierra, and figured I may as well see what the Sonora Pass was like.) From what little I remember of that pass (I was hideously carsick, so that was my main memory), it seemed dry then. (Last year I took my usual route, which was 120 to Tioga Road to Lee Vining; I already mentioned how dry that seemed.)

The problem for us, with a move, is where would there be water, where there would not also be other issues or problems (potential or real) of one kind or another... I have a sister who lives in KS, but sooner or later there is bound to be water issues there, I think. (They had some degree of drought last year, iirc, and hellishly high summer temps. DH doesn't want to live in a cold winter area, though, anyway.)

I agree that this will probably impact real estate sales and prices, especially with the requirement that drip irrigation be used. (Drip irrigation is a bad solution where there are rats, or deer... in our experience.)
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 1, 2015 7:06 PM CST
It was easy for me. I love the PNW. We built a house on Whidbey Island years ago and our first thought was to go back there...or inland in the Puget Sound area. But I have a really good friend living 45 north of where I am now and usually, it seems, we tend to go where we know someone or have family. We're as far north as we can be and still benefit from California's Prop 13...lol..spoke to an acquaintance in Arizona yesterday and though I would not want tl live there myself anyway, he says his proprty taxes are going up 5% per year...

We have a small yard here now which is all that I want at this stage of my life anyway and we do have a well. Our immediate neighbors are all on well water also and I am able to plant, but we all quit watering grass anyway come summer...we go brown....we get rain, but are all quite aware of our water situation and water very conservatively come summer when we don't get a lot of rain...
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Polymerous
Apr 2, 2015 2:09 AM CST
Well water, yikes. I thought that I had read somewhere (not that long ago), about a certain community (or maybe there was more than one?) whose wells went dry. I thought it was in CA somewhere, but I could be wrong.

I'm from Illinois, originally. It took me a long time to adjust to the seasonal differences here, from when the hillsides were green (winter into early/mid spring) to when they were brown (which seemed to be most of the year). It took me a long time to realize that there could be beauty in brown hillsides... (though I still greatly prefer green, if the truth be told).
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 2, 2015 6:41 AM CST
Absolutely wells going dry in Ca....and there was a time when I worried about being dependent on a well alone...however....in Contra Costa County, in 1976-77, we'd just bought our second home and it was during a severe drought. Our water was rationed to a certain amount, less than others because we were in an area that received canal water...and then they cut off the canal water access. We had never used it because it was cut just when we moived in, but our 'city' water was cut nonetheless. We were clearing out a small barn on the property, which turned out to really be a large pump house, because we found a well therein that even old time neighbors had not known was there. We dropped a pump in and miraculously started pumping water and I learned to love the idea of my own well...lol..

I spent my grade school years in the San Joaquin Valley...in retrospect, I think the water usage there by agriculture in all of the previous years was extremely wasteful, especially Big Ag ...gotten a lot of preferential treatment. In later years, while we were already going through cutbacks and rising water costs in San Diego County, areas such as where my dad lived in Modesto were still unmetered...he died about 5 years ago and though there was talk of meters, his water usage was still unmetered.

In our 30-some years in Fallbrook, we had opportunity to watch our water bills climb drastically and watch the actions of the various water districts and supply and I decided I would rather be not dependent on them again if possible.

Perspective is everything..there was a time when people said about the PNW..."It rains all the time...." and that was considered a 'bad' thing...lol..well, even in more rain plentiful times, it doesn't really rain ALL the time...and there is drought here also, but "Rains All The Time" took on an entirely different look.....

My husband is from Iowa and I've spent a couple of different years there, in Davenport, and I did like the green, I did not like the humidity at all. Depending on where you are, the California brown can be nice if it's rolling hills and oaks, picturesque. I've found that I'm much happer when surrounded by green and large trees and water. I've also spent a couple of years in Arizona and the desert can be beautiful in early mornings and evenings with long purple shadows, but overall, I would not choose desert again either.

Water is a risky issue..we can either be dependent on our well, in an area that gets more rain, or under the control of water districts which I've come to dislike and mistrust. In an area of wells, I think the water usage is more conservative, being very aware of how much we use and even though fluoridation was discontinued here as far as city water (before we got here and I think that's a good thing), with our well we have no fluoride and we have no chlorine, which at times was just intolerable in our previous area...you could turn a hose on outside and smell it...awful. We installed a whole house filter and an RO system in the kitchen.

In SoCal I laughed at the thought of rain barrels, etc....the small amount of rain we got was actually better off soaking into the ground around the house. We've been busy working on too many things here, but need to get to installing rain barrels, a cistern system, catchment of our winter rains to use during summer since we do get enough rain in the winter to make that a feasible consideration. We're quite happy at the moment that this area is getting 1/3-1/2 of its, considered til now, rainfall in the more usual amount of 60-70 inches, but we do see the need for more.

To me, rainfall became the prime issue in where I would live from here on out.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Apr 16, 2015 2:18 PM CST
We held a family reunion on Lake Tahoe this past February and I was stunned to see the grand trees (bristlecone and lodge pole pines I believe) looking very peaked. The color was just "off." The lake was down 9' and I know other lakes in that area are in worse conditions. We see it on the news every night but seeing the drought in person was a real wake up call for me. Living on the east coast (with all the heat and humidity, LOL) I am used to taking long showers and using the washing machine and dishwasher whenever. I am certainly more conscious of wasting water now.

BTW, I live on the water so we do have marsh rats and many, many deer and we have no problems with drip irrigation. Squirrels on the other hand will chew into PVC water pipes during dry periods.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Apr 16, 2015 3:47 PM CST
Gophers will chew the pvc also.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Apr 18, 2015 5:50 PM CST
We have not had any pvc damage from gophers, or anything else. And we DO have gophers... right now, they are tearing up what is left (after not much water the past several months) of our back lawn.

The drip and the netafim are problems, though. And the chewing damage is undoubtedly from rats. Our city (which prides itself on the number of trees, to the point that I think of City Hall as "Tree Nazis") is Rat Haven - at least in the areas with larger properties, and thus more and larger trees. In our neighborhood (1/2, 1, and > 1 acre properties), probably half the large oaks have rat nests in them. Our arborist takes down as many as he can find (including on the neighbors' property) every time he comes. (And it's not just the trees... we have found rats nesting in hedges, in our in-ground water valve boxes, and most recently, in our bbq! Grumbling )

I haven't been up to Lake Tahoe in years, but I go up to Yosemite and the East Sierra early most autumns. It was looking pretty dry up there last year. Last fall, when I was taking a break at one of the Mammoth Lakes (I had hiked there), I overheard one couple telling another couple that they had met some hunters earlier on their trip. These hunters apparently hunted the same area(s) every year (fall), and depended on certain creeks to supply their water. That fall they had started off on their hunting trip, but when they discovered that the creeks that they depended on for water every year were dry, they had to turn around and go home.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 18, 2015 6:03 PM CST
I used to leave bowls and containers filled with water around the property in hopes of keeping the critters from chewing through the lines....

There will be more chewing / eating of plants, I think, that are normally not desirable to certain critters....just to find moisture.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Apr 18, 2015 6:20 PM CST
Maybe I can ship some of our snakes your way, they really keep our rats in check. Smiling
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
wcgypsy
Apr 18, 2015 7:00 PM CST
don' want no snakes...............
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Liz
Santa Rosa, CA (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Region: California Dog Lover Roses Hummingbirder
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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Lizzipa
Apr 18, 2015 9:02 PM CST
No thanks on the snakes! I'll stick with my cats. Last year, all my succulents were chewed to nubs, for the first time, and I figured that some critter was searching for water...
Name: Kelli
Canoga Park, CA, Sunset 19 (Zone 10a)
Where summer is winter
Region: California Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Kelli
Apr 19, 2015 10:14 AM CST
We've had water rationing for a couple years now and we are well below what we are allowed to use. I've lost a couple roses but that was partly due to my laziness in watering them. I did lose some daylilies and that was not my fault. They are on the lawn sprinkler cycle, which is where the rationing comes in, which apparently wasn't enough for them. The #$#@% vinca still goes like gangbusters. It apparently has suffocated some of my irises and amaryllis and it has started to get out of the flower bed and into the lawn. I pointed this out to DH since he's the lawn person, but it didn't seem to faze him much. Vinca survives in the wild here so even if we had to stop watering everything, we would still have vinca. Thrills.
Take a walk with me at http://cubits.org/dayhikes/
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
wcgypsy
Apr 19, 2015 10:17 AM CST
The good news is that if you're left with nothing else...the vinca is pretty....lol..and, as evidenced, it's also tough.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
Apr 25, 2015 3:30 PM CST
in the meantime, huge water bottling companies can have all they want, then turn around and sell it back to us for HUGE profits...
Name: Kelli
Canoga Park, CA, Sunset 19 (Zone 10a)
Where summer is winter
Region: California Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Kelli
Apr 25, 2015 3:44 PM CST
Around here, golf courses have no restrictions, either.
Take a walk with me at http://cubits.org/dayhikes/
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
wcgypsy
Apr 25, 2015 4:31 PM CST
Be glad you're not living in one of the poverty countries who are selling your water out from under you to those huge bottling companies.....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."

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