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Drought & Water Wise Gardening

Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District

The Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District provides flood control and urban storm water services in a 399-square mile watershed located between the Kings and San Joaquin Rivers. The District is home to roughly 690,000 people and includes both urban and agricultural land uses. The Fresno/Clovis urban area is served by a system of roughly 700 miles of pipeline and more than 150 stormwater retention basins.  Capital facilities are funded through local development ordinances and operations are funded through a limited voter authorized tax.  The District also provides Clean Water Act compliance assistance to businesses and industries that are subject to stormwater related regulations.

The California Garden Web

The UC Master Gardener Program designed the California Garden Web to serve as a portal to organize and extend the University of California's vast collection of research-based information about gardening to the public. The California Garden Web focuses on sustainable gardening practices and uses a question and answer format to present solutions. The blog below highlights gardening issues pertaining to the season.

The Waterwise Master Gardener

Happy New Year to all and let's have a great year in the garden in 2021! Tim the Waterwise Gardener (see  tree pruning article to the right) 

To view past tips on saving water click here 

DROUGHT IS BACK - BE PREPARED

drought
I was browsing the internet recently and came across a news flash that the Department of Water Resources is cutting water allocations to farmers from 10% to 5%. I found this alarming. Very rarely have I seen the Department of Water Resources cut from the original allocation. Usually after some winter storms the Department raises the allocation. Due to lower rain and snowpack we are in severe drought restrictions again. Do you remember 2014?

To my knowledge, there are no further restrictions from the City of Fresno. Starting April 1, odd addresses water Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and even addresses water Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. No watering between 10 am and 6 pm. But this could change. Violators are subject to fine---something to remember.

I believe there are three things you should do now:

  1. FIX YOUR SPRINKLERS!

As I walk around neighborhoods in Fresno I am shocked at the number of homeowners who have broken sprinklers and let the water pour down the gutters. They are paying for that wasted water!

It would not surprise me if the citizens of Fresno made an honest effort to fix their sprinklers our total consumption would drop by fifty percent.(The EPA estimates the average homeowner consumes twice as much water as necessary)

  1.  MULCH

All of your flower beds should be mulched to preserve water. I prefer organic mulches as opposed to inorganic mulches like plastic. There are many sources for mulch, but probably the best source is yard waste from your own yard. Deciduous trees drop their leaves and these leaves make excellent mulch. I am amazed at how many people rake up their leaves and waste this valuable free resource.

Grasscycling is leaving the grass clippings on your lawn. It is like mulching your lawn. If the clippings mat up just take a rake and spread them around. I am also amazed at how many people don't grasscycle. Clippings are another amazing free resource.

  1. GET A SMART CONTROLLER

Smart irrigation controllers use historical and current weather information from the internet to set zone run times. Programming is relatively easy if you are willing to put the time in to learn how to program. Just do it.  You can use your smartphone or computer. I like being able to change my program quickly if there are any changes in water restrictions. I have had my smart controller for about five years and programming my smart controller is so convenient! The City of Fresno also gives rebates for certain smart controllers. Check with Landscape Conservation for information. In the past, Landscape Conservation will send someone out to program your smart controller. I recommend you do not do that. YOU should learn how to program your controller so you can easily make changes throughout the season.

Let’s take a step back and think about things. For years now we have heard about the dire water situation in California. As a retired farm appraiser, I can tell you this is no joke. And yet, it seems so many people refuse to take this issue seriously. Do you want to get to the point where you turn your faucet on and no water comes out.? Between agriculture, industrial and residential use California demands a huge amount of water. The complex system of dams, canals and aquifers is constantly being tested to the limit.

Here is my request: TAKE THE WATER SITUATION IN CALIFORNIA SERIOUSLY. BE PART OF THE SOLUTION AND NOT THE PROBLEM. Take the time to learn about water issues and be an informed voter if water issues appear on upcoming ballots. Now is the time to stop kicking this can down the road. What makes the Central Valley bloom is water.

Tim

The Waterwise Gardener / Spring 2021