Memorial Weekend brought some hoped-for rains, but overall, recovery from the US drought will be a long haul. The long-term dry spell is expected to hurt many crops, and threatens water supplies for more than two dozen small towns, in Central and West Texas.
Drought-tolerant landscapes are an idea whose time has come. Many homeowners in Austin get this. Here’s a look at several non-lawn lawns that may inspire you. While they almost all require getting rid of that pesky turf, they’re easy to maintain later on. Most importantly, they’re not overly thirsty.
Are you a great water conservationist? There’s a contest for that. The Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation gives away dozens of prizes to the residents of winning cities. Find out more…
Here’s a gardening method out of Alaska that’s oddly suited to Austin, because it conserves water and sets up a home gardening system that can bring big yields.
Here are 30 ways to save water courtesy of some extension agents who cooked up a program called “The 40 Gallon Challenge.” Take a look. There are several things on this list that you could do right now. Then email us your ideas and we’ll make this list a bit longer.
Stage 2 watering restrictions are not the most restrictive, but you still need to know when to water (at night if you’re using a sprinkler system). In Austin, you’ll also get distinct perks for Installing more efficient watering systems…
Austin Water is serious about rain barrels and catchment systems — so much so that the utility’s customers could qualify for hundreds, even thousands in rebates by looking to Mother Nature for their irrigation needs.
Fresh, clean, drinkable water. In some parts of the world, it dictates life and death. In developed nations, it’s under appreciated, and in decline. We celebrate World Water Day this week with pangs of concern.
Americans consume a lot of water as a result of their food and lawn choices. Read Danielle Nierenberg’s blog about how we can lower the stress we’re placing on dwindling water supplies. Ms. Nierenberg, co-founder of Food Tank, has traveled the world, studying food and water scarcity, and can tell you how many Kenyans survive on the same amount of water consumed by one American.
What’s the best way to reduce how much water you use? You may be surprised to learn that it doesn’t involve your lawn or a household faucet.
Are you weary of mowing, weeding and fertilizing that yawning stretch of lawn? Consider installing a patch of native prairie. A Pocket Prairie can reduce your thirsty conventional turf, replacing it with native grasses and flowers. You’ll be feeding butterflies and birds, and cut down your grass mowing obligations, perhaps to zero.
In an effort to address Texas’ ongoing drought, two state lawmakers have proposed legislation that would free thousands of homeowners from having to water and maintain conventional sod lawns.
It’s been a strange week. I’m blushing, because wherever I go, I am confronted by flushing.
First came news that actor and green activist Ed Begley is endorsing two composting toilets. Leave it to Ed to go where no man has gone before.
I am glad that Begley continues to push the envelope. I assume he’ll be installing these at home, and he will find that composting toilets are at least as easy to incorporate as those stationary bikes he uses to power the TV. I confess I don’t watch the Living with Ed show, but I am a fan of his green advocacy. Another product he’s endorsed, Bayes Waterless Car Wash, has become a favorite at our house. We save untold gallons of water, avoided sending contaminated runoff into the sewer system and still end up with sparkly cars.
While some Americans insist on pampering thirsty lawns and water-greedy flora – and engage in other water-siphoning practices – innovative means of conservation are cropping up all over the United States, out of necessity or sheer eco-sense. Some can be easily applied by individuals; others require input, or even a policy change, from water-service providers.
“In Marin County (CA), where I live, they take a fairly clever approach that’s driving behavior change. They tell you on your water bill how your water usage compares to last year’s,” says Jason Morrison, a water expert at the eco-driven Pacific Institute in Oakland, CA. “It’s information that’s very easy to read. You can also compare your usage to the county average and to the town average. That kind of information motivates people. Those kinds of policies allow people to become actively involved in utilities issues.”
Something else that’s helped California, as it fights to stay afloat during a drought, is the tightening of specs on new construction, for instance, requiring low-flow plumbing for all new homes. (Old-fashioned toilets use 6 gallons per flush, while the smart and modern ones only take 1.6 gallons or less.)
Water utitilies around the country are finding similar opportunities in conservation.