Rationing-when less is enough

Since rationing began in our area in early 2014, I have micromanaged water. Each monthly allotment was half or less our use that same month in prior years, and I strove to meet that frightful figure. We began to budget and plan each area and each day, and, as this blog attests, made radical changes to responsibly use every gallon.

Month after month for 32 months we achieved our goal. Then, lo and behold, the past 2 months we used less than our allotment and less than we had those months in 2014 and 2015! Our water district does not let you carry forward unused quantities, so it’s use it or lose it. I was so tempted to use it but didn’t. That decision was best for the collective whole and for our plants.

Even though we already considered our garden drought-tolerant with its succulents and drip irrigation, we had to reinvent almost every aspect of the landscaping to achieve rationing’s 55% cut in our consumption. To voluntarily cut it further makes me feel good. This sea change (pun intended) of recent underuse is payoff from unceasing exploration of conservation potential as time passes. Specifically:

  1. Young plants that replaced lawn and other guzzlers are maturing. They now need less irrigation.
  2. Drip irrigation has now been removed on many succulents and cacti in clay soil. Infrequent hand watering is done as needed instead.
  3. The saga of purging thirsty, sickly, or low-priority plants continues. Like decluttering a closet, we keep only what we love or use.

If you think about it, rationing has forced us to create a sustainable garden and to continually challenge ourselves to conserve. I’m not proud to say that, but it’s true.

Makes you wonder why the State of California suspended state water use mandates in May 2016 as the drought continued… Makes you hopeful the State’s new “Making Water Conservation a Way of Life” plan highlighted in yesterday’s Washington Post will build on all our lessons learned these past few years…