21 May 2015

How to save two million gallons per year

BB has a well -- and thus the right to use as much water as he wants -- on his Northern California property. He sent this report:
I just cut back from 70 4.5 gpm heads [irrigation hoses] run three times a week for 45 minutes per time (more in summer) to 5 heads three times a week for 30 minutes. Also do manual watering on 15 trees as needed as I’ve done in the past.

Near as I can figure, I’ve gone from about 2.3 million gallons/year to about 250,000. (Realistically my target is now 250,000 because the pond will require about 49,000 gallons a year to maintain the fish and provide water for the animals that come to drink.)

Just got a water probe, so I might be able to get it even lower by measuring penetration depth on the trees rather than using time. Fortunately [our area] is a swamp, and I have mostly native plants and trees and drought resistant plants, so I don’t anticipate heavy plant loss. Maintenance costs will be way down with lower water use. Kind of interesting that we are now down to about the same amount of water that a two-person Sacramento household uses.

I let the grasses grow until the fields are brown, then mow the grass long to give the seeds a place to hide until next rainy season. Right now the tall grass is catching a ton of dew at night, and that is keeping things green a lot longer than I thought it would.

Not Australia yet, but going from 1.50 gpm to 0.09 gpm ain’t bad progress. Hopefully, there will also be more water for our local farmers.

Golden is beautiful.
DZ's Bottom Line: "The end of abundance" means that you need to change habits, to live with water scarcity. Simple actions can save a lot of water at a low cost.