Flex Your Water Conservation Skills
It’s official: 2013 was the driest year in California since rainfall data started being recorded in 1849-50 and we are officially in a drought situation. Our Public Works Director, Jason Holley, provided the latest update on our situation here in American Canyon to the City Council on March 4, 2014, you may view the presentation here or if you prefer you can watch the presentation by clicking here.
Each of us can do a little bit to help make a difference by doing these simple things to save water:
Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
Run full dish- and clothes washer loads
Take quick (not leisurely) showers
Check for plumbing and irrigation leaks
If you haven’t already, take advantage of the City’s Toilet Retrofit Program, which offers a rebate of $100 for replacing a standard-flush toilet with high-efficiency toilet (HET). For a family of four, a standard toilet, at 7 gallons per flush, uses about 2,100 gallons of water per person, per month. This accounts for about 26% of the average household’s indoor water use. By contrast, an HET toilet uses just 1.28 gallons—about 80% less. That’s an easy way to save a lot of water.
Another easy way to save water is to replace your clothes washer with a high-efficiency washing machine. While conventional washers use more than 40 gallons of water per load, new high-efficiency models use less than 18 gallons, saving more than 50% in water and energy costs. High-efficiency washers also require less detergent, are gentler on your clothes, and because the spin cycle removes more moisture, result in shorter drying times that use less electricity. In partnership with PG&E, the City offers a cash rebate of $200 on Energy Star models (the most efficient) or $50 on a CEE Tier 3 clothes washer. In addition to the cash incentive, the average household will save 6,450 gallons of water, between $80-$100 on electricity costs, and $54 on detergent every year.
|| For the average household, the biggest water-saving opportunities are outside your door, where lawns and thirsty plants require regular irrigation. To encourage you to replace lawns with hardscape or water-wise plants, the City offers a “Cash for Grass” program that pays you $1.00 for every square foot of turfgrass that’s replaced with drip-irrigated, low water-use plants, permeable hardscape, or polyethylene or nylon artificial turf products. Residential water customers can earn rebates for up to 750 sq. ft. of lawn replaced, and commercial customers can replace up to 2,500 sq. ft. Lawn areas to be converted must be currently maintained in healthy condition and irrigated by a functioning sprinkler system. The application can be downloaded here.
To take advantage of these water-saving programs, contact the Water Conservation Coordinator at (707) 647-4521 or email email@example.com. It is important to contact us before you get started, because there’s a process that must be followed to qualify for the rebates.
In the meantime, pick up some free water-saving devices at City Hall, such as:
|· low-flow shower head
· shower timer
· kitchen or bathroom faucet aerator
· “water miser” hose nozzle
· hose timer with automatic shut-off
· toilet dye kit to detect leaks
· replacement toilet flapper valve
· rain gauge with lawn watering guide
· sprinkler test recommendations
Nearly half of American Canyon's treated drinking water is used outdoors, much of it wasted in overwatering lawns and gardens. Like only 2% of the world, American Canyon has a Mediterranean climate, with cool, wet winters and summer droughts. Selecting appropriate plants, mulching, and frequently adjusting irrigation to match the weather are just a few of the actions you can take to save water in your landscape.
|Sprinklers 101 is a web portal one-stop shop for homeowners and professionals looking for information and online resources on water-efficient irrigation.
Click here to check out "Water-Wise Gardening in the Napa Valley", a free on-line resource!
Visit the inspiring Garden Gallery. Browse more than 1,000 climate-appropriate plants. Create a printable plant list. Discover design, irrigation, maintenance tips, and more!
There is also useful literature available, including several publications from Sunset magazine:
Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates of the San Francisco Bay Region, 2004, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). Available in some area bookstores.
Sunset Western Garden Book, 2012, Sunset Publishing. Available in most bookstores and garden centers. Avoid using plant species shown to require Regular Water or Ample Water.
Easy water-wise gardening, 2009, Sunset Publishing. Available free from the City of Napa Water Division. Magazine article reprint includes designs, drip irrigation tips, and permeable hardscapes.