Two recent bills make significant adjustments to water use and costs in California. Here’s what you need to know and what you can do.
The two big issues we’ll cover are reduced water usage and increased water rates. Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668 went into effect in 2019 but won’t be enforced until 2021, so you have a little time to prepare. But how should you do that?
Rain. Some of us get more of it than others. In some cities it pours most of the year, while in others total annual rainfall is measured in a tuna can. You might not need to conserve as much water if you get a lot of rain. But even in high-precipitation areas of the country (and world), it’s more about infiltration than how much rain falls.
Infiltration is king when it comes to making the most use of rainfall. In areas where soil is exposed and compacted, water can’t make its way in. Instead, it sheets over the top of the soil. This means it ends up in the ill-conceived street drainage system. I say ill-conceived because the storm water engineering we’re all living with was designed to carry water away, not into, the landscape.
I recently considered how many people have told me they don't know what restorative design really means. I spend a good deal of time answering questions like, "what is green infrastructure," "is a swale paved," and that kind of thing. And these questions don't only come from my clients. I've found that a lot of builders aren't familiar with ecology. They install jobs according to 'traditional' methods.
In my experience as a designer and an intuitive, forest destruction is the single most dangerous activity of mankind. The result of taking out trees is the decline of the landscape toward desertification, or entropy. I’ve always shaken my head at the mainstream tale we’ve been told about entropy being Earth’s natural tendency. If you’ve spent as much time gazing into Nature as I have, you probably agree that this is a flat out lie. To anyone watching, natural systems move automatically toward a climax ecosystem state unless they are disturbed to a degree that breaks down the inherent ability of the system to recover. In extreme cases of deforestation, true deserts occur, such as the Sahara in Africa.
An Egyptian Take On Desertification
Speaking of the Motherland, on the subject of desertification I find the research of those wise and brave enough to disregard Egyptology to be important here. They are the most fun researchers and writers IMHO (in my humble opinion) because they are boldly willing to pass right by the misinformation campaigns fed to the world. Read More
Slope Allows Sophisticated Backyard Water Features
If you’ve ever looked at rural property advertisements, you’ve probably noticed that flat is desirable. It seems like everyone wants a level piece of land, and for good reason, because it’s easier to put a house there. But what if I told you that a property with some slope is highly valuable? I have transformed many formerly unusable outdoor spaces by creating innovative backyard water features you wouldn’t expect.
I usually try to be in several places at once by multi-tasking. Physically, I have offices in Oregon and California. As one of probably many landscapers in these cities, I see many properties facing climate issues that my Portland, Oregon, clients only deal with during their hot, dry summers.
Landscaping in drier climates is, to me, an opportunity when handled with sustainability in mind. The semi-arid Mediterranean climate of Los Angeles offers a diverse set of challenges. I like challenges.