Southwest Hydrology: the conservation issue

FITTINGLY, Thanksgiving brings a feast for those on a water diet. The new issue of Southwest Hydrology looks at all manner of conservation issues, including how to approach industrial and residential use, seemingly unstoppable population growth in a dry region, the ever-tricky business of standardization of measures, how to design savings programs and affordability. To download a free copy, click here. Via WaterWired.

Permanent water conservation

California did it. This month, the Legislature passed a package of bills that includes a statewide urban water conservation goal of 20% by 2020. We have confronted the kind of conservation that will be needed to secure the water supply of Los Angeles, and the state, in the face of population growth and climate change. Or have we? It all depends on where you put the goal posts.

To keep reading today’s op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on permanent water conservation, click here.

Correction: In citing projected population growth by 2020 for Southern California in this article, I quoted predictions as high as 43%. That was incorrect. The correct figure for Southern California as forecast in 1998 by the California Department of Housing and Community Development is 13.8% and for state-wide growth 48.3%. I greatly regret the error. Please see the comment string for more discussion of the

The week that was, 11/15-21/2009

“It is the court’s opinion that the negligence of the corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MR-GO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia and shortsightedness.” — Federal District Court Judge Stanwood R Duval, Jr on the US Army Corps of Engineers’ management of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, aka “Mister Go,” in advance of Hurricane Katrina, New York Times, November 19, 2009

In the 24 hours up to 12.45am yesterday, the Environment Agency recorded rainfall of 314.4mm (12.3in) in the area, thought to be an all-time record for England. — “Cumbria floods: ‘Once in a thousand years’ deluge swamps defenses,” Daily Telegraph, November 21, 2009

Sacramento supports the Delta as long as we don’t have to do anything to make it better. — Phil Isenberg, former Sacramento mayor and chairman of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, opinion piece “Delta

Stormy water

After the Los Angeles Board of Public Works delayed its decision on the Low Impact Development ordinance designed to curb the flow of contaminated stormwater into the Santa Monica and San Pedro Bays, city’s Bureau of Sanitation has announced a new community meeting to “provide input” into the proposed ordinance.  When: Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Where: City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation Media Technical Center, 2714 Media Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90065. Who: Los Angeles homeowners, developers, environmental groups and all interested parties are encouraged to attend. Please direct questions and your RSVP to For upcoming LID-related  posts go to: Team Effort blog.

The Dry Garden: On sage and size

Sonoma sage. Photo: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

MANY gardens go without sage in California but at the cost of soul. Sage is to the West what lavender is to France.

Sage, or in botanical terms salvia, has it all: Its pungent aromas contain the signature scent of the Western chaparral. The silvers, grays and greens of its foliage anchor the local Craftsman color wheel, and the long-running show of flowers come in a spectrum of white to pink to mauve to scarlet to purple to indigo to sky blue.

Many sages have long had medicinal and culinary applications, but for modern Californians it’s a balm to the eyes. A felt-like quality to the foliage, combined with a loose-branching habit, allows sage to diffuse the harshest midday sunshine rather than reflect it. Sages do not need fertilizer, and in fact they shrivel at the suggestion. Few other plants

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