Storm Water Solutions to Drought

I’ll bet you never think about storm water solutions when walking in your neighorhood.  You may have noticed your local landscape seems stressed out by drought.  A walk can tell you a lot about the outside factors affecting your property.  Working with permaculture is one of the most effective ways to restore soil, increase plant health, add shade, and attract beneficial wildlife.  You can also lower your water and power bills by choosing permaculture instead of traditional landscaping.  But did you know permaculture reverses drought?

You’ll notice when you walk through your neighborhood that some yards are green and lush while others look tired and dry.  Of course some families irrigate and others try to save on their water bill by letting their lawns go brown in the summer.  But there is a lot more happening in the majority of urban and suburban yards than might be obvious at first glance.  Most families don’t realize that they can lower their water bills with a few simple techniques.

As a permaculture designer, I use my three favorite storm water solutions wherever possible.  I want my clients to enjoy increased property value, lower electricity, water, and maintenance bills, and beautiful habitat that in turn helps precious beneficial wildlife.  And it is not complicated to do.  Try these yourself!

My Favorite Storm Water Solutions

  1. Add shallow linear depressions (swales) on contour where possible.  For a great guide on how to do this, download my BioSwale Information Sheet.
  2. Mulch thickly over all exposed soil.  Four to six inches is best, and I like a shredded woody debris.
  3. Add mycorrhizae when planting.  A bag of starter fertilizer containing this precious soil-builder costs under ten dollars at most garden centers.

With the landscape crying out for human stewardship, each homeowner can take simple, low-cost steps that really help the land recover its vital function as a water filtration and infiltration super hero.  It’s a win-win too, because healing your yard beautifies your neighborhood while helping your wallet.

BONUS: A public program of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties is building water sustainability for Caliornia’s future.  They are asking for community input via a survey to identify community needs and priorities, and answers will affect how public funds will be distributed. You can take the survey here:

For additional information about WaterTalks and Prop 1, please visit: