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California's Drought

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California's Drought

Post  sanderson on 4/6/2015, 2:05 am

Good news for Cal farmers. I was surprised. Some of the State government's decisions have not been favorable, but this is. Other news indicates that this year's rain/show produced only 5% of normal. It's not the inches in rain that spell the available water but the mountain snow pack.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gov-brown-defends-mandatory-water-cutbacks-in-drought-stricken-calif/2015/04/05/0224d10c-dbdf-11e4-a500-1c5bb1d8ff6a_story.html

California giant growth in population.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/us/california-drought-tests-history-of-endless-growth.html?_r=0

California economy showing Ag as 2%
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=california+economy+2015&qpvt=california+economy+2015&qpvt=california+economy+2015&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=5332ED58141BA8DA746BD0BACE72AF102265C058&selectedIndex=27

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California drought

Post  kauairosina on 4/6/2015, 4:05 pm

The part that irks me is that Arrowhead water, can't remember the parent company offhand but well known, is taking lots of California water because they are taking it from a reservation, which is not under State control.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  Roseinarosecity on 4/6/2015, 7:41 pm

The California farmers use 80% of the state water, but as I drive north or south on Interstate 5 (Los Angeles to San Francisco) to drop off/bring back my daughter back to/from her college, I have seen the agriculture fields watering their fields at 12 noon - 4 pm with their powerful jet sprinklers.  I cannot imagine how much water is lost with the way they water those fields!  AND, I don't see mulch being used in the peach, apricot, orange, or almond orchards, or in between rows.  Is the irrigating science different from my vegetable garden? In order for me not to lose water from evaporation, I water early in the morning or at dusk, and I mulch like crazy.  Once a year I go after the tree trimmers I see around my area asking for their free wood chips and I collect leaves all year round to use as mulch and leaf mold.  I also plant vegetables for my Mediterranean climate, not water hogging vegetables.

I do understand that their harvesting machines could damage their irrigation system, but we surely must have intelligent "agri-engineers" who can look into a better watering system--one that doesn't lose as much water.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  TCgardening on 4/6/2015, 7:58 pm

It's all about $$$. The industrial farmers give big bucks to the politicians and in return are allowed to massage the rules. It's the same way here in S Fla. When we had a bad drought the sugar cane farmers were pumping lake Okeechobee dry.
If you break the irrigation rules you will receive a fine, they receive only profits.

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California drought

Post  kauairosina on 4/7/2015, 2:28 am

I'm afraid you are too right about the drought and the denial that goes on.  Food from China?  Out of their friggin' minds.   I sure wouldn't want to poison my head listening to that kind of talk radio.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/7/2015, 2:36 am

@kauairosina wrote:I'm afraid you are too right about the drought and the denial that goes on.  Food from China?  Out of their friggin' minds.   I sure wouldn't want to poison my head listening to that kind of talk radio.
I'm sorry I deleted my post - I didn't want to bring any discord due to political differences if there were any, but yeah, some people haven't studied history and don't realize that you don't put your food supply in the hands of someone that has a long history of conquest and war.  Not to mention that doesn't have any sense of healthy means of production!

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addressing California water shortage in Los Angeles ABC7 News-Aquajet

Post  has55 on 4/7/2015, 9:54 am

[url= http://abc7.com/weather/new-irrigation-system-helps-homeowners-save-on-water-bill/621322/]NEW UNDERGROUND IRRIGATION SYSTEM HELPS HOMEOWNERS SAVE ON WATER BILL[/url]

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Re: California's Drought

Post  Roseinarosecity on 4/7/2015, 11:01 am

Yikes! $800 bill in November is ridiculously high, but $450 is also way too high.  He is in San Fernando Valley, I am in the San Gabriel Valley, similar areas.  My November bill, also a two month statement, was $134.  It was higher than the previous year because I was trying to generate citrus fruit from my 4 trees I have in the west side of the house, which had not given me much fruit for two years in a row due to the drought.

Of course, people's bills are really based on the size of their area, the size of their pipe, (1" or 3/4") and their usage per person.  Last November we used an average of 0.45 HCF/Day. I also have no grass in my backyard, just veggies and fruit trees and a patio, I have California natives in my front yard and one large pine tree, fruit trees on the west side, and my drive way on the east side.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  has55 on 4/7/2015, 6:07 pm

@has55 wrote:[url= http://abc7.com/weather/new-irrigation-system-helps-homeowners-save-on-water-bill/621322/]NEW UNDERGROUND IRRIGATION SYSTEM HELPS HOMEOWNERS SAVE ON WATER BILL[/url]
Thank you for bumping this to the right area. I wasn't sure and I thought I saw a article earlier. Well appreciated.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  has55 on 4/7/2015, 6:24 pm

@Roseinarosecity wrote:Yikes! $800 bill in November is ridiculously high, but $450 is also way too high.  He is in San Fernando Valley, I am in the San Gabriel Valley, similar areas.  My November bill, also a two month statement, was $134.  It was higher than the previous year because I was trying to generate citrus fruit from my 4 trees I have in the west side of the house, which had not given me much fruit for two years in a row due to the drought.

Of course, people's bills are really based on the size of their area, the size of their pipe, (1" or 3/4") and their usage per person.  Last November we used an average of 0.45 HCF/Day. I also have no grass in my backyard, just veggies and fruit trees and a patio, I have California natives in my front yard and one large pine tree, fruit trees on the west side, and my drive way on the east side.
I agree with the Yikes and double Yikes!!! I think the news is focusing on the idea of cutting the water bill in half thru the use of the aquajet, no manner what your bill is. I noticed when they returned to the anchored newscaster they didn't even flinched at that amount of the water bill. That made my head swim when he said it, but he might be included that in his entire bill and noticed the reduction. In texas our bills comes as one, but are separated on the bill what you used per category, like electric, gas, water, drainage. No manner what, his water is high period if the quote he said is correct .

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Re: California's Drought

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/8/2015, 11:21 am

This is a pretty good, short break down of the political aspects of our water crisis here in California.

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/04/07/californias-man-made-environmental-disaster-has-little-to-do-with-climate-change/

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Re: California's Drought

Post  sanderson on 4/8/2015, 2:13 pm

Audrey, Thank for posting this article.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  has55 on 4/9/2015, 12:46 am

@sanderson wrote:Audrey,  Thank for posting this article.
+1.
referring back to the Los Angeles news interview about the Aquajet . My friends in that area told me that particular area gets their water bill every 3 month which included total h2o usage(house and lawn) and drainage under the water category. you are charge for the amount of water used in the house and landscape,plus sewage/drainage which will equal the same amount. In texas, we are charge for drainage in dec, jan, and feb only. This explained the high water bills and myself saying Yikes and double yikes.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  Roseinarosecity on 4/10/2015, 11:04 am



This is a real drought.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  sanderson on 4/10/2015, 2:44 pm

Rose,  Nice visual.

In a way, I'm glad I started gardening in 2013.  It forced me to fine tune water conservation in the SFG garden from the get-go.  Like wise, I have started (maybe 75-80% completed) shoring up the rest of the yards against this drought and ensuing water restrictions.  Heavy mulch over homemade and purchased compost.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  has55 on 4/11/2015, 1:13 am

@sanderson wrote:Rose,  Nice visual.

In a way, I'm glad I started gardening in 2013.  It forced me to fine tune water conservation in the SFG garden from the get-go.  Like wise, I have started (maybe 75-80% completed) shoring up the rest of the yards against this drought and ensuing water restrictions.  Heavy mulch over homemade and purchased compost.
Sanderson, can you share some ideas what you are doing to shore up the rest of the yard?

rose, that is a real drought. I hope it break soon, like today.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  sanderson on 4/11/2015, 2:50 am

Has,  The main thing is wood chips, as many as I can.  [I can also walk on them without getting shoes dirty!]  The moldy wood chips from chipping up the tree we had removed a few weeks ago.  Plain pine wood chips.  A thin layer of left over horse manure before I put down the chips.  Leaves. The weird hybrid compost pile I made last fall with shredded green leaves and branches and horse manure.  I envisioned sifting out the wood chips but the material didn't really compost.  So, I used the rich stuff as mulch under trees and bushes with plainer chips to fill in the spots.  The earthworms have been turning over the rich stuff, bringing up soil.  Everything except the grass lawns is on drippers.  An area of the back lawn was valved off and the "key hole" looking table tops are now there.  My plan is to put SynLawn under the TTs as it is mostly dirt, now.  For the front color spots, I've been dumping bags of Kellogg, Ecoscraps, bagged chicken or cow manure, and good HM compost with a little peat moss and vermiculite of perlite.  Can't use wood chips in the planters around the house foundation because of termites.  But, I had an idea!  Use rubber or synthetic wood chips.  This west side arbor is shaded in part by Bower vines planted next to the house.  Perfect place for the rubber chips.

Our front lawn is a small rounded hill so water does run off.  This is 2008 after husband removed the sod and we reduced the height of the hill.
Yes, this is back in the day when I could do heavy work!  He unloaded the rolls of sod and I laid and trimmed them.  We now water 5 minutes, then an hour later, 5 more minutes.  At least is doesn't run across the side walk, down the gutter and around the corner anymore.    If needed, we can reduce the lawn size and make flower beds with drip.  The first picture above shows a nice area for a brick extension of the drive way.  This photo shows another problem watering area that could also be converted between the existing bed and the sidewalk.  All watering is before sunrise.  Most of our neighbors have lots of lawn run- off and dirt flower beds.  I hope to convert them by show and tell.

We are on smart meters so next week I will call the City for a recording of monthly water use since the meters were installed.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  has55 on 4/11/2015, 3:04 am

the pictures are beautiful. thank you for sharing what you are doing. Great ideas. I see you and DH have really been working at this. have you seen a noticeable drop in your water bill.  It's impressive how effective the mulch is working for you.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  sanderson on 4/11/2015, 3:29 am

Has,  the photos are from 2008 when we re-sodded the front lawn. Embarassed I hope to have better photos of drought-proofing in a week or so.  This is the front flower bed Dec 2014 showing some Kellogg, etc., I dumped there last summer when I started.  The area around the wood box for the xylosma tree was recently piled with wood chips.  We still have the stone and brick borders to do before I can plant all the flowers I bought at HD sale yesterday!

We have a flat water rate so I am interested in our monthly water usage in preparation for rationing or tiered rates.  Hopefully I can find out next week.  And take some photos.  The rubber chips will be great for the Bower vines on the left.  The star jasmine on the right have since been removed and SFG winter squash beds installed. In fact, the flower bed in the background has 2 cantaloup, garlic, onion and tomato boxes!

I can't wait to post photos because that will mean we have finished our first attempt at a BTE type of flower beds.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/11/2015, 12:50 pm

Like Sanderson I've been working hard over the winter to prepare for a long hot dry summer.  I've brought in at least 6 inches of wood chip mulch to all of my gardens except my front flower gardens which I'll get to this month. 

I topped off all but one of my SFG table tops and raised gardens last week and where I was watering a couple of times a week, they're basically keeping their moisture levels.  I went ahead and watered this morning anyway because I want the chips to store up water for the heat ahead.  

Our "lawn" isn't worth watering.  We tried it a couple years ago watering several times a week and it made no difference.  So we let it go au naturelle for the summer and water our trees by deep soaking.  

My hillside gardens were layered with composting material over the winter and are deep mulched and planted.  I'm hoping for once a week at the most watering *fingers crossed*

I'm on a well, so won't get hit with any cost increases, but water is precious anyway!

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Re: California's Drought

Post  sanderson on 4/15/2015, 3:45 pm

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304547704579565622649474370

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Ideas

Post  Razed Bed on 4/15/2015, 4:07 pm

We are in the opposite situation here with our yard flooding, but in the past when we lived in Colorado, we saved a lot of water to use on our containers.

My wife and I would take baths together rather than showers, as we loved to read and soak our aching muscles at the same time.  We began saving the bathwater.  We took a shop vac and sucked the water out of the tub and then rolled it outside to our patio and poured it into a barrel.

We soon discovered other ways to save water.  We removed the drain hose to our clothes washer and installed another hose to it so that the washer could drain into the barrel as well.  The barrel would fill up every Sunday when my wife did the wash, and our plants did quite well with the water.  She put essential oils in our wash and used homemade washing powders made from organic soaps, baking soda, and essential oils.

Since we frequently drove to Denver to visit some specialty groceries, we bought bags of ice from McDonald's (the only thing we ever bought there) and put them in coolers to keep our groceries cold for the 45 minute drive home.  The melted ice was added to the rain barrel as well.

Maybe all of the Californians reading this can try some or all of these things to get extra water.  I hope you get a couple of monsoons before summer.  Here, it has rained all but one day in April, and it is forecasted to rain every day in our 7-day forecast.  Our flat part of our yard is holding water.  Goofy me, I went out there with a soup pot and skimmed as much of the water up to put in 32-gallon garbage cans.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 4/15/2015, 5:55 pm

I love all your suggestions for saving water - If we had to haul all of the water we used, all of us would be much more careful with every drop!

I'm so glad you mentioned the homemade soaps etc.  It's really important that if someone is going to save grey water they research bath soap, dish soap and laundry soaps etc. first.  If some types of detergents or soaps get into the water stream, they function as fertilizer and many lakes and rivers can be seriously damaged with water plant overgrowth.  I recall a lake in San Diego that was virtually dead because of the runoff issue and had to be completely drained, dredged and rehabbed after the fish died.

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We use a great local soap

Post  Razed Bed on 4/15/2015, 7:11 pm

We use soaps from Little Seed Farm.  James and Eileen Ray are our friends and heroes.  They were highly successful professionals in Brooklyn, James in finance and Eileen in fashion.  They had no farming experience but loads of intelligence and common sense when they moved to Lebanon, Tennessee, and purchased a farm to raise goats.

Eileen used her fashion knowledge and James used his knowledge of the balance sheet, and the couple began making soaps and other cosmetic wares.  Within a year, they were the top sellers in the genre in Middle Tennessee, and their soaps went into Kroger's, Whole Body, and other healthy retail shops.

I love their cinnamon soap, while their Jackalope Beer soap is their biggest seller.  When you can see the entire process of how your soap is made, you feel better about the resulting gray water from the bath.

I guess you could use Dr. Bronner's or another big box retailer, but then Dr. Bronner never bought jewelry from my wife and never gave me free financial advice that proved to be highly accurate.

Please forgive me if this is not supposed to be done, but you can visit their website at www.littleseedfarm.com.

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Re: California's Drought

Post  sanderson on 4/16/2015, 3:20 pm

Today, I contacted the City regarding weeding and wood chips for the median at the entrance of our neighborhood. Over the years the ornamental pear trees and ugly bushes have died, one each year or two. It's still being watered, but as something dies, they cap off the bubbler head. Selfish? Yes, I want the neighborhood to be nicely presented. It's bare, dry, red hard pan.

Surprisingly, the City folks I talked to got my request straight. Green or dry chips once it has been weeded. Either the City jail inmates can clear the weeds or I will. Then, the wood chips can be applied. I told them that this was an experiment, something out of the ordinary. We will see.

PS, I'm even thinking of sprinkling Cal poppy and other spring seeds. Maybe they will replace the dead bushes with lavender and rosemary and the dead tree with a crape murtyle. !!

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Re: California's Drought

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