California’s drought continues through the dry summer; we made a great start on water conservation.
July weather in my hometown of Los Altos, California, was normal for our Mediterranean climate — warm and dry. Our daytime temperature was still cooler than normal, while the trend of warmer-than-normal overnight temperatures continues.
We had no rainfall in July — exactly normal, since our average rain for July is zero. Our cumulative rainfall since January 2013 remains about half of normal — 53%. We’ve received 23 inches of rain the past 2.5 years.
Urban water conservation is working
Good news about our drought is that urban users are conserving water. From the state press release about June water conservation,
With record-breaking heat throughout much of the State in June, Californians continued to conserve water, reducing water use by 27.3 percent and exceeding Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s 25 percent mandate in the first month that the new emergency conservation regulation was in effect.
Our valley’s water district was cited for “remarkable performance”:
Santa Clara Valley Water District – set a 30 percent savings goal for its service area in March 2015 and 9 of its 11 urban water suppliers, including the San Jose Water Company and the City of San Jose, exceeded the 30 percent goal in June, leading to an overall savings rate of 35 percent for the District.
Locally, residents of Los Altos and surrounding areas did even better, saving 40.4% in June, from the state’s data for water retailers.
California will curb water use for new landscaping, which will increase our future water conservation.
Under the rules, new homes with more than 500 square feet of landscaping must include water-efficient sprinkler systems and a mix of vegetation that doesn’t exceed certain water-use limits. The outdoor space must be accounted for in a documented budget.
People building homes with between 500 and 2,500 square feet of landscaping have a simpler option: They can comply with terms on a checklist, including having no more than 25 percent grass turf in the yard and installing smart sprinkler controls and pressure regulators.
As a result, a lot more native and drought-tolerant plants are expected to adorn new neighborhoods. Outdoor irrigation typically accounts for as much as half of urban water use.