My favorite resources

When rationing raised its ugly head in early 2014, I realized how little I knew about our new California home. Even with my prior 7 years on climate change solutions, until that moment our local water use, the yin and yang of droughts and floods, and centuries of water shortage were not my turf.

Armed with a ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ mindset, I plunged into learning how to best cut landscaping water. Pickings, other than regional guides for climate-appropriate plants and crisis stopgaps, are surprisingly slim. This was not the first drought here nor the last, and insights gravitate to thumbnails of A) remove lawn, B) get drought-tolerant plants, and C) turn down irrigation.

Resources I found particularly helpful are alphabetized by type below. First, 7 overarching observations:

  1. Encyclopedic plant profiles aside, gardening materials typically radiate joy and personal experience. In marked contrast, water-saving ones are apt to be ominous and formulaic.
  2. Water wise is often viewed as a clone of sustainable. True enough for topics like plant choice or soil preparation, but less so for ones like consumption analysis or irrigation refinement.
  3. Landscaping resources expound on one determinant of water use – nonthirsty plants – to great effect. The other levers? Not so much, so far.
  4. Most water management materials target landscape, horticultural, or agricultural professionals. Laudable given their outsize consumption, but it leaves regular folks wanting.
  5. Colorado, Texas, and California have been at this a very long time based on impactful groups’ genesis. Trailblazing gardeners have too.
  6. Universities play a critical role in research and dissemination. Public agencies and non-profits do too, remarkably so.
  7. Business are a mixed bag. Plant nurseries’ materials are fruitful, but most irrigation suppliers, tree services, and gardening maintenance resources are silent on the subject.

BLOGS and WEB SITES – only active ones with a sustainability bent made my list

BOOKS – some are ‘old’ classics, which speaks to long-term lack of water

GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES / WATER UTILITIES – California, Colorado, Texas in particular

NON-PROFITS, REGIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS, and HORTICULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS

UNIVERSITIES


NOTE: For the record, there is no advertising nor any money for links. I blog on this subject because it is important, and fun too.

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