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Del Mar Dustbowl

Bill Michalsky

When in Drought…

Del Mar Garden Club

Water 101

Ken Olson

Del Mar Dustbowl
Bill Michalsky | Stratford Court


It’s not just a winter drought. The last 12 months have been the driest since at least 1885, according to NASA. From Feb. 1, 2013, through Jan. 31, 2014, our state received an average of 6.97 inches of rain, or roughly 15 inches below the normal 22.51. And according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 95 percent of the state is experiencing drought, with 70 percent of California in extreme or exceptional drought. (Click here ).

Last month, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, as reservoir levels dipped to all-time lows with little rain or snow in the forecast. Conservation in various forms is needed.

Some believe we live in a tropical paradise… it really is an arid paradise and adjustments need to be made by all of us if we expect to enjoy hot showers. Do we embark on recycling or desalinization of this precious resource or do we wait for the next El Nino? It’s not a matter of just buying water, what do we do when it becomes less available and real rationing of this asset occurs? Difficult choices are ahead.

Local advocates say that in San Diego, where about half of household water goes to irrigation, greywater can make a dent in water use. Capturing one inch of rainwater from a 20 x 50 foot roof can yield over 600 gallons of water. In some cases rebates are available for storage tanks from the Metropolitan Water District.
At a recent Del Mar Rose Society meeting in January the discussion came home. Invited to speak that evening was Candace Vanderhoff, an expert on rain water harvesting and greywater reuse. Her discussion points made one consider the amount of water that we let slip away (i.e., runoff, the wait for hot water in the shower, laundry water). Candace is one of the few local experts and an entrepreneur in this field of water reuse. Her enterprise can be seen at www.rainthanks.com/.

Given the current amounts of rain and the ever-increasing cost of potable water her services may be of interest to many. Although an investment in these systems may not yield financial payback.

Do something. Reuse can be done safely, but it does require some plumbing changes that can more easily be done during home remodels or new construction. Or capture the water that would otherwise be going down the drain while waiting for your next hot shower in a bucket. Or shower with a friend. Drink your scotch neat. It’s your choice…



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