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Water Awareness Artwork Wins Escondido Student Poster Contest

Twelve winning student artists from Escondido area elementary schools follow in a long tradition of fourth-graders entering the annual City of Escondido Student Poster Contest. Students were asked to depict the 2021 contest theme “Love Water, Save Water” to illustrate the value of water resources through creative, hand-drawn art.

Drought: Mandatory Water Restrictions Approved for 2 Million Residents of Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County on Wednesday became the most populous county in California to impose mandatory water restrictions, saying that the worsening drought poses a significant threat to the local groundwater supplies that provide nearly half the drinking water for 2 million residents.

On a 7-0 vote, the Santa Clara Valley Water District board declared a water shortage emergency and set a target of reducing water use 33% countywide from 2013 levels, a year the state uses as baseline. The district, a government agency based in San Jose which serves as the county’s wholesale water provider, also urged cities and private water companies who buy its water to put in place water wasting rules and other mandates, including limiting lawn watering to no more than three days a week. As in the last drought, the rules are likely to include monthly water allocations for each home beyond which financial penalties would apply.

Intensifying California Drought Promises ‘Very Concerning’ Fire Season

California is entering its summer fire season with a high level of flammability. The hottest and most fire-prone months of the year are ahead. Conditions in the state are a striking example of escalating fire potential in the drought-stricken West.

How the season unfolds will depend on a number of factors, including where ignitions occur and the duration of summer heat waves.

But the outlook is poor at this time, given deepening drought, abundant dry fuels and hot early-season temperatures.

Microclimate Matching in Your Landscaping Plan

Earlier in our Conservation Corner series, we described how to map the different types of microclimates present in your landscaping. Using this information helps homeowners arrange plants in a new sustainable landscape. For the most efficient water use, plants should be grouped together with similar water needs according to their preferred microclimate.

In nature, plants that like lots of water are found along the banks of a stream, or grouped together at the base of a depression. Plants that need fast-draining soils so roots don’t rot might be found on hillsides. Plants that love lots of sunshine won’t grow in the shade of a tree.

With New Law, Las Vegas Water Agency Bets On ‘Aggressive Municipal Water Conservation Measure’ To Remove Decorative Turf, Conserve Colorado River Supply

The backdrop for the legislation was set hundreds of miles away from Carson City, where the Colorado River meets Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam outside of Las Vegas.

Over the past two decades, Lake Mead, which holds nearly all of Las Vegas’ water, has dropped more than 100 feet amid drought and overuse. In response, federal regulators expect to declare the first-ever shortage for the Colorado River next year, triggering cuts to Arizona and Nevada’s allocations.

Hefty Water Rate Hikes Could be Coming for CVWD Customers

The Coachella Valley Water District is expected to vote Tuesday on a series of hikes that could sharply raise some residential and commercial customers’ monthly water bills over the next five years.

The proposed hikes would mean an average family that uses about 20 ccf  per month could see their bill rise from $32 currently to $48 by 2026, according to agenda materials. A ccf, or one hundred cubic feet, equals is 748 gallons of water.

Drought: Mandatory Water Restrictions Coming to Santa Clara County

In a major sign of California’s worsening drought, Santa Clara County’s largest water provider announced Monday that it is moving forward with plans to declare a water shortage emergency and to urge cities and water companies that serve 2 million residents in and around San Jose to impose mandatory water restrictions.

Oceanside Takes First Place in Nationwide Waterwise Contest

The city of Oceanside took first place in this year’s Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, earning the title of most waterwise among similarly sized cities across the country.

In total, Oceanside residents and businesses saved 32,945 gallons of water, collected more than 10,000 pounds of debris headed for local rivers and the ocean and reduced carbon emissions by 137 pounds during Earth Month in April.

During the annual competition, mayors around the country encourage their communities to conserve water, reduce carbon emissions and reduce waste.

Oceanside Introduces 360 Tour of Water Recycling Project

Oceanside released an immersive 360-degree video and tour of the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility, and new home of Pure Water Oceanside which is set to go online in 2022.

The video was released as part of “Water Awareness Month” and is a step-by-step tour of the water purification process, with a unique 360-view of the facility.

By turning your phone, you can see a view of the plant from all directions while hearing a narration of the process.

Learn to match plant choices to your microclimate map. Photo: Charlie Neuman, Water Authority

How to Choose Plants for Landscape Microclimates

Every garden has completely different cultivation characteristics, even those located in the same general climate zone. For example, there will be areas where plants will flourish.

Numerous features affect your growing conditions. Structures, walls, fences, and other plants can affect the amount of sun and shade in a garden. There can be hills and hollows in your front yard that may collect cold air. Or, because your property is sloped, you don’t get frost when your neighbors do.

Individual microclimates may differ significantly from the general climate of an area. To be sure you match the right plant choices to your conditions, you need to identify and map these microclimates. Start by walking around your property at different times of day. Observe conditions and take notes.

Choose plants that will thrive

Determine which plants will work in your new garden, and which should be removed or avoided. Outline the canopy area of the plants being retained. Note the name, general size, and health of the plants.

Do any of these plants seem “unthirsty?” Many plants can thrive on less water when they are well established, with deep healthy roots. Old rose bushes and large shade trees are two good examples. These drought-tolerant plants are worth keeping if possible, especially if they are mature.

Note sun and shade patterns

Different areas of your landscaping are affected by shade, moisture, and temperature, creating a variety of microclimates. Photo: Water Authority

Different areas of your landscaping are affected by shade, moisture, and temperature, creating a variety of microclimates. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Mark the areas that receive sun all day, and areas that are shaded all or part of the day. Also note which areas receive only partial sun, or a few hours of direct morning sun, midday sun, or late afternoon sun.

In choosing landscaping plants, make sure to select those that are appropriate to the sunlight patterns of the garden. Plants marked as “full sun” will not be happy in full shade, and vice versa. Don’t work against their requirements.

Group plants for similar needs

Group plants with similar water requirements together. Make sure plants with different water needs are not combined. Some sun-loving plants have moderate water needs, and some have very low water needs. If these are mixed together, one will always suffer if the watering routine works for the other types. 

This article is part of a year-long series inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook available at SustainableLandscapesSD.org. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at WaterSmartSD.org.