With a changing climate, irregular rain patterns, and growing populations, water resources have been unpredictable year by year. California is particularly vulnerable to frequent and prolonged droughts which limits access to fresh, clean water. Current reliance on groundwater extraction for agricultural and domestic needs has been shown to be highly unsustainable. Additionally, as temperatures continue to rise, evaporation rates are increasing, depleting reservoirs and increasing agricultural and landscaping irrigation demands. Warmer winters also means less snowpack, which means less availability of mountain runoff water in the spring. Overall, as our climate continues to change, we must all do our part to reduce water consumption.
Conserving water might mean redesigning landscapes or installing new technology, such as sprinkler systems or washing machines. Conserving water does not have to mean drastic change. Start with small, simple actions, like installing faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads or checking for leaks in homes and businesses. These efforts can save water and money on utility bills. The San Diego region has a lot of free resources, rebate incentives, and services available to help with this transition - take a look and start saving today.
Outdoor Water Conservation
Take a look at the City of La Mesa's Water Conservation Fact Sheet for Outdoor Water Usage.
Change Landscapes - Xeriscaping
- Aloe Vera
- Barrel Cactus
- Blue Agave
- California Fuchsia
- Coastal Sagebrush
- Crape Myrtle Trees
- Desert Willow
- Fairy Duster
- Feather Reed Grass
- Mondo Grass
- Purple Three Awn
- Silver Leaf
Using graywater is a great way to reduce overall water usage and utility bill expenditure because it relies on using recycled water. Water bills are often a lot higher in the warmer season as this is when most outdoor watering takes place, so employing graywater systems has the potential to decrease water bills by a significant amount.
Rainwater collection, also known as rainwater harvesting, is another way to save water and potentially lower utility bills. As the name suggests, this refers to capturing rainwater as it is falls, rather than wasting it as stormwater runoff. Most cities (and other areas) have a high percentage of impervious surfaces, meaning that water cannot penetrate through them. These surfaces include asphalt, concrete, stone, and brick, which are all common in urban areas. When rain falls, instead of percolating through the ground/grass into the soil to refill the water table, the water ends up running off of roofs and streets into storm drains. This runoff picks up pollutants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, oil, and bacteria, and carries it all the way to streams, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.
Rainwater collection is a way to counteract some of these effects. There are a couple of different types of collection: active and passive. Passive can be as simple as using permeable surfaces to catch water directly into the ground around plants, and active collection can be as simple as installing a barrel or cistern to hold and store water for landscaping needs.