Are you in need of ideas on how to cope with the “new normal” in California in light of the ongoing water restrictions? Read on to see what we at Abalone Bay and two other vacation rental owners are doing to conserve our precious resource- water.
Water Restrictions Are No Joke
Our County’s Reservoir capacities are lower in 2022 than they were during the last drought, which was 2013/2014. With water supplies at frighteningly critical lows the State Water Resources Control Board issued an order that would preserve water supply in both Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma. The order requires new minimum instream flow requirements. As a result, Sonoma Water will begin lowering releases from the Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma by 12 cubic feet per second (cfs) every eight hours until we hit the target minimum instream flows.
The current restrictions also commit Sonoma Water and its retail customers to a 20-percent reduction in total diversions from the Russian River between July 1 and October 31 compared to the same time period in 2020.
A New Normal in Light of Water Restrictions
On March 28, 2022, Governor Newsom directed the State Water Board to consider adopting an emergency regulation for urban water conservation. By June 10, 2022, new emergency regulations went into effect. They will remain in effect for one year from the effective date, unless the Board modifies it, readopts it, or ends it before then.
Emergency Regulation Requirements
- Commercial, industrial, and institutional decorative grass should not be watered*
- Give all trees just what they need: avoid overwatering
- Follow the local requirements of your water supplier
- Urban water suppliers should implement all Level 2 demand reduction actions by June 10, 2022*
At Abalone Bay, we always followed good water conservation and took preemptive steps anticipating the mandatory water restrictions in California.
We especially upped our commitment in 2015 when The Sea Ranch also issued their restrictions to combat the last serious drought conditions.
Water Restrictions Hacks that Abalone Bay Recommends
Consider these hacks below as begin to make your water use changes based on the mandatory water restrictions.
- Follow The Sea Ranch philosophy of living lightly on the land by using native plants in our landscape. These tend to thrive best when water is scarce.
- Use drip irrigation on a timer that is monitored regularly to make sure there are no breaks in the line and just the right amount of water is used.
- Install lo-fl toilets
- Go green with water your shower head, including the rain shower
- Install a water saving dishwasher (we use GE Energy Star® products)
- Use a front loader washing machine
- Remind guests, friends and family to please conserve water
- Use reusable water bottles rather than purchase bottled water
Santa Cruz- Toughest Water Rules Anywhere
Knowing that Santa Cruz already has in place some of the toughest water rules, I checked in with my friend, Cal to see what tips I could get from him to survive the mandatory water restrictions.
Cal owns Beach Lover’s Retreat, a vacation rental in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz’s water use reduction program has reduced its per-capita water usage to among the lowest in the state.
Cal shared his surprise over the discovery that his landscaping system had been utilizing too much water without his knowledge.
“So off to school I went.”
Quickly learning his lesson, Cal now uses these water saving actions to improve water conservation at his Beach Lover’s Retreat:
- Fixes leaks fast and keeps a watchful eye on his watering system, matching watering with plant needs so he does not over-water
- Uses a high-efficiency front-loading clothes washer,
- Has low flow faucet adapters and shower heads,
- Has a water pressure regulator where the water enters the property,
- Has 1 gallon-per-flush low-flush toilets
- Notifies guests of the dire water situation via an email a week ahead of their stay.
I just love this wonderful reminder Cal sends out to his Beach Lover’s Retreat guests prior to their stay!
Cal assures me, “We are now good water citizens again!”
How Does a Caribbean Island Save Water?
“Having an environmental background, it is totally against my standards to use too much water, especially because I know the water has been produced from seawater in a desalination plant.” Linda Lou added, “After living more than 5 years in the tropics, I have learned that it is better not to have a lush garden. It looks nice, but it gives mosquitos.”
Perhaps, as California moves away from those lush tropical gardens, too we may find our mosquito problem will go away as well.
What’s Your Personal Commitment to Saving Water
Unfortunately, we have lived through our share of California droughts. Subsequently, we have opted for these personal commitments to saving water:
- Opt for a shorter showers- by decreasing our showers just one minute we’ll be saving 2.5 gallons of water
- Keep my Scotch neat, and enjoy Sonoma, Mendocino wines.
How are you personally going to cope with our “new normal,” as the Governor calls it?
We look forward to you hacks too!