Avoiding pollution, drought’s evil twin

Drought has rewritten accepted orthodoxy about yard care. Among the things to do: water less often, more deeply. Rake. Compost. Squarely on the list of things not to do: fertilize, apply pesticides or use leaf blowers. Advice from a veteran garden writer about dry season good practice.

Emptying reservoirs, empty words

Rancho Mirage, where President Obama golfed last weekend, is located between Palm Desert and Cathedral City. The heavily irrigated areas, many denoting water-hungry golf courses in California’s Mojave Desert, are highlighted in red. Source: NASA/Earth Observatory

*President Obama came to the Central Valley to address drought and climate change. Everyone “is going to have to start rethinking how we approach water for decades to come,” he said. After making the remark in a speech at a ranch in Los Banos, a farm town roughly 75 miles northwest of Fresno, the President spent the weekend at a golfing resort in the Mojave Desert.

*Republican Congressman Devin Nunes greeted the President’s outreach to the Central Valley by saying, “To blame the California water crisis on global warming is ludicrous.”

*The Mayor of Los Angeles highlighted local water harvesting as a way to relieve dependence on imports while posing in front of

Girding the grid for 20% water savings

Governor Jerry Brown's drought proclamation comes at a time when Angelenos are least able financially to pay for landscape conversions needed to find his 20% water savings. One free solution may be letting LA's infamous green lawns have seasonal brown turns.

“The drought is over…”

After taking this photograph of a Southland Sod truck on the Santa Monica freeway in Los Angeles, garden designer Catherine McLaughlin said, “I’ve been trying to get it for weeks without crashing my car. I see it everywhere.”

The California “drought” — if water shortages in a naturally dry place can decently be called that — was declared over on March 30th, 2011 after one exceptionally good water year in the Sierra. However, the part that the Southland Sod company didn’t put on this ad was the line from Governor Brown’s proclamation, “It is strongly encouraged that all Californians continue to minimize water usage and engage in water conservation efforts.”

McLaughlin works for the Topanga-based landscape firm Rodriguez & Satterthwaite, and posted this today on that sustainable design-build company’s blog. Hat tip to Kimberly O’Cain, water resources specialist for the City of Santa Monica, for circulating the

Thunk tank

Next Monday, the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water and Power will be holding a local hearing at the Los Angeles offices of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The subject?

“California drought solutions.”

If that seems an odd thing to be contemplating during a deluge, it’s not. Most of our water does not come from local rainfall, but from other places, which, if not in a drought, are definitely in a jam. Last week, that jam became orders of magnitude worse as Sacramento judge Roland Candee struck down something called the Quantification Settlement Agreement.

This 2003 wad of contracts profoundly affects how California may legally divide and manage its share of the Colorado River, which is along with Owens Valley in the Eastern Sierra and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in Northern California one of the three main sources of fresh water for Southern California.

Candee’s 

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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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