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.

Weather that drives you to the nozzle

Source: NOAA. Click on the map to be taken to the Climate Prediction Center.

With rainfall across Los Angeles less than half the putative average for this time of year, and forecasts making discouraging noises about the prospects for a “March miracle,” it’s time for dry gardeners to water.

As odd as it sounds to be prescribing irrigation after light rains blew through and before summer heat, for lack of meaningful precipitation, late winter is the time to charge unnaturally dry ground. The soil is still porous, so there should be no run-off. Shorter and cooler days check evaporation and native and Mediterranean gardens are growing now, so they need a drink before they slip into summer dormancy in May.

But use caution. This is by no means a recommendation for a return to lawn-style frequent and light watering. It’s not about pushing a lot of new growth. It’s a

Hedging its bet

Roman coin thought to have inspired a disgruntled Getty House gardener to adopt the name Mutunus Tutunus and begin carving obscene gestures and messages into local hedges.

Topiarist Mutunus Tutunus will be creating likenesses of shortlisted candidates for the general managership of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power on Friday night at the G2 Gallery in Venice. Outgoing temporary general manager David S. Freeman will also be honored in a work called “Hat.”

Typical of Tutunus, he refused to supply advance images. “Koons will just steal them,” he wrote to a gallery organizer. If Tutunus shows up, it will be a first. The former mayoral mansion groundsman turned artist is best known for pruning obscene forms into the hedges of Windsor Square residents after they mounted a letter-writing campaign to the mayor berating Tutunus for describing the neighborhood in a local gardening newsletter as Hancock Park, a far

Saved by drip?

A REPORT this week from the Pacific Institute argues that using pricing to encourage California farmers to switch from flood irrigation to sprinklers or drip could conserve 5.6 million acre-feet of water a year. According to the report’s co-author Peter Gleick, this is the equivalent to:

How To, Why To Save Water


A Grace Phillips garden from

By Grace Phillips

RECENTLY, the Metropolitan Water District reduced water allocations to Southern California by about 20%. While we in Santa Monica are cushioned, the City will probably ask for further voluntary 10% reductions. That raises the question: Can you afford to reduce your water use? I have come to realize that it is very difficult for Santa Monica water users to answer that, because when you get your water bill, you have no way of knowing whether you are a good, careful water user, or a major water waster.  

So, I thought I would share some information to help you figure out what kind of water user you are, and some more information on how to be a better one. 

PART ONE: Some Interesting Factoids

  1. Santa Monica gets more than 80% of its water from far, far away. Pumping water up and over
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