When we added thirsty vegetables to our otherwise drought-tolerant garden, I knew we'd have to look for additional water savings strategies.
Because Southern California relies heavily on imported water, conserving it is crucial. Transporting water long distances requires a lot energy. Indeed, according to the state Department of Water Resources, nearly 20 percent of all power used in California goes to move and treat water. Wasting it is shooting ourselves in the foot, so to speak, because the more greenhouse gasses we pump into the air, the more we exacerbate global warming.
One of the most certain projections about the effects of global warming is the decline of snowpack in places such as California's Sierra Nevada. We rely on snowpack as a kind of reservoir that stores precipitation when actual reservoirs are full and water demand is lower, saving it for drier months. Ecosystems, too, rely on gradually melting snow fields to feed streams and water forests through the warmer months. Southern California also imports water from the Colorado River, where early snowmelt and more intense drought cycles will also wreak havoc. This is on top of the ecological carnage created by Southern California's diversion of water from places such as the Owens Valley and the lower Colorado River.
I bought Urna from Gardener's Supply Company. She wasn't cheap (more than $200), but isn't she shapely? It'll be a longtime before the amount I save on my water bill adds up to the cost of the barrel. That's not the point. I love mountain yellow-legged frogs and other species in our gorgeous Sierra. I can't bear to hasten their decline.
Gardener's Supply sells cheaper versions. You can also make one. Here's a link to a $10 version.
Storing water is also part of my earthquake preparedness plan.
To learn more about the projected impacts of climate change in California, check out my radio series.
For help with sustainable gardening, consider one of the dry gardening events on Emily Green's Change of Rain blog.