Posts Tagged 'california drought'

New Resources Promote Water-Efficient Landscapes

Today’s blog is from our friends at the San Diego County Water Authority! Read on to learn more about the newest water-wise landscaping resources that are available!LogoColorVertPCbig

May is Water Awareness Month and studies have shown that large improvements are being made statewide to effectively conserve water and our reservoirs are slowly but surely making their way back to pre-drought levels. With that said, we all can do our part to conserve this precious and unpredictable resource.

When in Drought

Were you aware that more than half of a typical single-family household’s water use happens outdoors?

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To help improve our region’s outdoor water efficiency, the San Diego County Water Authority recently launched two new resources – an online video series that guides homeowners through the process of transforming their yards into water-efficient landscapes, and an EPA-approved training program for landscape professionals.

The WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program’s Videos On Demand take the content of the Water Authority’s award-winning WaterSmart Landscape Makeover classes and condense it into 17 short, engaging episodes that provide step-by step guidance through the landscape retrofit process, including site analysis, design, implementation and maintenance.  To watch the videos, or learn more about the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program, go to LandscapeMakeover.WaterSmartSD.org.

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The Water Authority also is now a partner in the Qualified Water-Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) training program. This program provides landscape professionals with 20 hours of education on principles of proper plant selection for the local climate, irrigation system design and maintenance, and irrigation system programming and operation.  Go to QWEL.WaterSmartSD.org to learn more, including information about hiring QWEL-trained landscapers.

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In addition to these new resources, the Water Authority continues to work with multiple partners to help homeowners and business owners maximize water efficiency. Please visit  www.whenindrought.org for links to water-use rules by community and other conservation resources, such as incentives for rain barrels to low-water-use devices and appliances.

Thank you to all of you who have conserved and continue to find new ways to make the most of our most precious resource! 

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Moriah bridges love for craft beer & the environment

Mo brewing beerToday’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah as she shares her love for San Diego craft beer and our environment!

I am known as the resident beer nerd at I Love a Clean San Diego.  After working at a local brewery for about a year and brewing at home, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about beer.  One thing I didn’t know, however, was how connected my love of beer was to my love for the environment.  In a city like San Diego, it’s not surprising that our local breweries value our environment as much as they value their craft.

Ways SD breweries minimize waste

Water conservation is a big issue for everyone in California, and that includes craft breweries.  The industry average in California ranges from 3.5 to 6 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced.  Breweries in San Diego are leading the way in reducing the amount of water needed for their production.  Local breweries are becoming increasingly water-wise.  According to the California Craft Brewers Association, Ballast Point has reduced its water use by more than 24 percent, and Stone Brewing Company recycles more than 62 percent of its water daily.

One of the biggest ways that local breweries reduce waste is by using their spent grain in creative ways.  Spent grain is the grain left over after the brewing process.  Instead of throwing this used grain in the landfill, most of San Diego’s breweries donate it to local farms, where it can be used as livestock feed.  Stone Brewing Company even uses it as a mulching tool in their garden.  Some of their spent grain goes towards locally made soaps and dog treats as well!

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Hop farm picture is Jordan Brownwood tending hops at Nopalito Farm & Hopyard. Photo credit:  slowfoodurbansandiego.org

San Diego is known for its hop-heavy beers, but did you know that farms right here in San Diego County grow one of beer’s most important ingredients? Nopalito Farms is a local, family-run organic hopyard and orchard in North County San Diego.  Since water conservation is always an issue in Southern California, Nopalito Farms has adopted sustainable farming practices like drip irrigation and mulching, and they work to maximize the rain that they get in Valley Center.

Imbibe with the earth in mind!

  • Bring a growler with you next time you pick up beer. Instead of cans or glass bottles that will end up in your blue bin, get a reusable growler and take it to the closest brewery.  Get fresh, draft beer straight from the source! Be sure to check with the brewery first to see if they have any specific growler policies.
  • Reuse old beer or wine bottles to make decorations for your house. At our recent Sustainable Living Workshop that focuses on a zero waste home, our educators taught attendees how to reuse their old bottles and turn them into fashionable home decorations.

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    One example of a  repurposed wine bottle from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.

Volunteer at Cupid’s Cleanup!

If all of this beer talk has you thirsty, you can join us and Benchmark Brewing Company on Saturday, February 13th from 10am-12pm for a cleanup of the San Diego River! Why not switch up the typical dinner and a movie Valentine’s Day date and help us clean up the San Diego River instead. Then, if this blog has inspired you to try some local San Diego suds, you can join us afterward for a Valentine’s Day-themed mixer hosted by Benchmark Brewing Company! Families, sweethearts, kids, and singles are all welcome.

Register here! Help us spread the word by joining the Facebook event and sharing the cleanup with your friends and family. 

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Water Savings in Action

Last month, I Love A Clean San Diego and Media Arts Center San Diego came together to create a short but educational video to help San Diegans conserve water. Here’s a behind the scenes look at our video shoot!

DSC00017I Love A Clean San Diego’s Board President, Eric, is a water saving pro, so it was only fitting that we used his home as a backdrop for our video. He and his family have made all sorts of changes – some small, some large – to make their home more water wise.

When we pulled up, we were in awe of his front yard. He recently removed all of his grass and shrubs, replacing it with mulch, wood chips and lots of drought tolerant plants. It looked professionally done, so of course we were in shock when he said that he did it all himself! He showed us how the mulch ground cover helps to retain moisture in the soil, so he rarely waters but the ground still felt damp and cool.

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Whether you have 1 rain barrel or 5, you will be making the most out of the few rainy days San Diego sees each year.

Then we headed to the side of his house, where he showed off his massive rain barrel array. I have to say, it was a little intimidating to see such a feat of engineering, but he assured us that it’s really easy after you do a little math. To help with this, we’ve put together a DIY guide to plan for and install rain barrels at your home!

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Low flow shower heads and faucet aerators can make a huge impact!

After checking out Eric’s amazing vegetable garden, which he irrigates with water collected from his rain barrels, we headed inside the house! One clever tactic that we’d never even thought of is to fill up a large bottle with water and put it inside your toilets water tank to help displace water. Then, the toilet tank thinks that it is full and shuts off before using too much water. 

Another quick and easy bathroom water savings retrofit…low flow shower heads and faucet aerators. They are simple to install and the water savings can really add up. And best of all? I Love A Clean San Diego has lots of them available through a partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric. If you are an SDG&E customer, you can swing by our office to pick up your free water savings kit! Or, you can request one online and they’ll mail it to your home!

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Displacing the water in your toilet tank allows it to use far less water with each flush.

We finished the day by taking a tour of his garage. You might not think that a garage has anything to do with water conservation, but it does if that’s where you do your laundry. Eric’s family has installed a gray water system in the garage to collect water from the washing machine to irrigate shrubs on the side of his house. This installation is a bit more technical, since you have to create a two-way valve and find a way to run PVC pipe through your garage and out to the yard. But, the good news is that in San Diego, you no longer need a permit to install gray water systems, as long as it is only hooked up to your washing machine. For more water savings tips for every room of your home click here and if you’re interested in learning more about rebates, we have an infographic for that too!

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Gray water, commonly referred to as Landry to Landscape is another great option to make the most out of every drop.

Now that you’ve gone behind the scenes, here is the final product – our water conservation video!

 

Summer Water Savings Solutions

Today’s blog comes from our Education Manager, Erika. To help all of us to better understand the relationship between our water use and drought conditions, Erika has taken it upon herself to become well-versed in the ways of water conservation. Read on to learn more about how you can help America’s Finest City reach its water conservation goals! 

 

 

It’s not news that San Diego and the rest of California is experiencing severe drought conditions. In April, Governor Brown imposed mandatory restrictions in municipal water use, designed to save 25% of state drinking water supplies. Despite the fact that most San Diegans are aware of our drought, according to the Equinox Center, “the member agencies of San Diego County Water Authority experienced a 2 percent increase in average daily water consumption on a per person basis” in 2014. While it is my opinion, the best way to conserve water is to evaluate your eating and purchasing habits; although these savings won’t be reflected on your water bill. So, here are some ways you can #wastenowater this summer.water conservation

Educate yourself.

Figure out where you are using the most water in your home: watering the lawn, long showers, or perhaps there’s a leak? One of the first steps is learning how to decipher your water bill and read your water meter (and teach the kids in your life to do the same!). Once acquainted with your standard water usage, any abnormalities will alert you of any leaks. Another simple solution to identify toilet leaks is to put food coloring in the fill tank; if dye travels to the bowl, you know you have a leak.
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There are also lots of resources available including free water savings kits from SDG&E – click here to request yours today

Go beyond the bucket.

I’ve been hearing stories of people capturing shower water while waiting for it to heat, which is awesome. Most people use this water for irrigation; however, there are plenty of other uses for this water. Try using it to fill the toilet fill tank, as water for your animals, or to fill ice cube trays and water jugs. If you plan to do laundry or cleaning that day, you can keep it to mop or use for hand washing your delicates. 

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Scrape and Soak.

When washing dishes, make sure to scrape excess food into the trash (or compost) before rinsing. You can use a bucket to minimize excess water use, too. Also, if you are fortunate enough to have a dish washer, make sure to have a full load before starting. Water saving doesn’t have to start with dishes. Use a bowl to wash fruits and veggies and be smart about the size of the pot you use to cook.

Gray your garden.

graywaterIrrigation accounts for a large percentage of water use, especially in the summer. Our solution, go gray(water)! Laundry to landscape graywater systems don’t require permits. Take a course or study up through YouTube on how to be most efficient in your garden. Also, you can never use too much mulch! Mulch and compost can prevent evaporation from your soil and your plants will love it, too! Don’t forget to use water wise and native plans and try out a rain barrel! Whenever I see a sprinkler watering the sidewalk, I adjust the head to point toward the grass.

 

These habits don’t develop overnight, so place sticky notes around places that are atypical of your routine (and don’t forget to recycle the notes once you are done!).

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Water Wasters Beware!

May is Water Awareness Month and it is only fitting that today’s blog comes from our friends at the San Diego County Water Authority! You may remember a blog from last fall called, When in DROUGHT, turn to us!” that focused on water use restrictions and how ILACSD staff conserve water in their lives. As water restrictions have intensified, we wanted to make sure you’re are up-to-date. Read on to learn new ways to conserve water in your life! 

When in Drought

State Mandates Water-Use Cuts

This means we all need to do our part to save water every day, every way

May is Water Awareness Month, and what we all need to be aware of is that the governor has ordered mandatory cuts in water use to start June 1.   If we all do a little more to save water, it can add up to big savings for our region – in terms of water and avoiding financial penalties from the state.

Each local water agency has a conservation target to reach from June 2015 through February 2016. These cuts range from 8 to 36 percent depending on each agency’s level of per-capita water-use. If a member agency does not reach its conservation target in the coming months, the agency could face fines. 

Summer is almost here, the peak season for water use.

  • watering yardLimit outdoor watering to two days per week, less if you can.
  • Leaks should be corrected immediately – sign up for your free WaterSmart Check up today!
  • Decorative water fountains must use a recirculating pump.
  • Use a broom to clear driveways, sidewalks and paved areas instead of a hose, which is prohibited.

Are you looking for even more ways to conserve water?

  • Opt to stop watering you lawn areas and let them get a tan this summer! (forget Orange is the New Black, Brown is the new Green!)washer
  • Shorten your showers. Shaving 1 minute off your shower time saves 150 gallons a month! 
  • Collect the warm-up water from your shower and use it to water plants.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
  • Turn off the faucet when washing, shaving or brushing teeth – you’ll save about 2 gallons per minute!
  • Install water-efficient appliances and take advantage of rebates at WaterSmartSD.org.
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Sarah, ILACSD’s Development & Marketing Coordinator, uses old water to water plants at the office instead of pouring it down the sink!

Already doing everything to conserve? Share what you’re doing with SDCWA on Facebook and Twitter

Check with your local water agency to see what restrictions are in place in your community. If you aren’t sure which member agency to contact, go to whenindrought.org for the member agency locator, more conservation tips, and rebate information.

Thank you for saving water every day, every way!

 

 


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