Are you in need of ideas on how to cope with the “new normal” in California in light of the mandatory water restrictions? Read on to see what we at Abalone Bay and two other vacation rental owners are doing to conserve the precious resource- water.
California’s Mandatory Water Restrictions Are No Joke
Though announced on April Fool’s Day, our new state mandatory water restrictions are no joke. Governor Jerry Brown announced that for the first time mandatory water restrictions will be imposed on all residents and businesses in California. The goal is to reduce our statewide consumption of the precious liquid by 25%. This works out to roughly an aggregate 1.5 million acre-feet of water (an acre foot of water equals about 325,000 gallons) over the next nine months.
“We’re in a new era,” Brown declared in his press conference. “The idea of your nice little green grass getting lots of water every day, that’s going to be a thing of the past.”
You may read the full text outlining the mandatory water restrictions in the Governor’s Executive Order here (Pdf):
A New Normal in Light of Mandatory Water Restrictions
Our new normal as laid out in the Governor’s order includes:
- Requiring golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscaped spaces to reduce water consumption.–Replacing 50 million square feet of lawn statewide with drought-tolerant landscaping as part of a partnership with local governments.
- Creating a statewide rebate program to replace old appliances with more water- and energy-efficient ones.
- Requiring new homes to have water-efficient drip irrigation if developers want to use potable water for landscaping.
- Banning the watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.
- Calling on water agencies to implement new pricing models that discourage excessive water use.
- Requiring agricultural to report more water usage information to the state so that regulators can better find waste and improper activities.
- Creating a mechanism to enforce requirements that water districts report usage numbers to the state.
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 last year when The Sea Ranch issued their restrictions.
Mandatory 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
We have lived through our share of California droughts and now we are also experiencing one in Chile (learn more about us).
These are our 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!