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Home > Natural Resources > Water Strategies to Preserve Natural Resource Supplies and Quality

Drought-tolerant Plantings Required in New Construction - LA County

Southern California is in a drought -- it's time to seriously optimize your water use to reduce costs and conserve water supplies.

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California water conservation It's coming: drought strategies are being prepared for 2007-2008!

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in October, 2007, directed officials to prepare a zoning ordinance amendment requiring the planting of only drought-tolerant and native plants in all new developments in unincorporated areas.

As the state's population is expected to increase from 37 million to 49 million by 2030, water use is expected to increase by 2 million to 6 million acre-feet. Meanwhile, the last dam built in the state was in 1997 when the population was 23 million.

"The water shortage is real," Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said. "California now stores less than one year of water. The problem is we've had six bonds approved for almost $17 billion promised to enhance the water supply - but they failed to do it.

The supervisors said the plan should include a combination of new dams and water-retention facilities, enhancement of the existing facilities and water conservation measures.

Los Angeles County can take various actions to conserve water including repairing leaking water systems, increasing the amount of water stored underground and using more recycled water at parks and similar facilities.

The county also has the option of increasing water rates in its districts for those whose water usage exceeds specified cubic foot rates.

They start out with monetary incentives and work down to mandatory conservation measures such as not being able to water plants or your landscaping.

Drought Solutions for Commercial Landscaping

RECOMMENDATION: Based on the projected water shortages and increases in conservation measures, California Green Solutions recommends businesses consider some of the following green/sustainable strategies:

  • Replace delicate plants with hardy drought-tolerant plantings. Species selection makes a major impact on water requirements. Hire a native plant and sustainable landscaping designer to optimize your landscaping for the coming drought.
  • Use deep mulching to conserve water with less evaporation
  • Install weather-monitored and controlled drip irrigation systems everywhere possible around shribs, trees, narrow flower beds, containers, etc.
  • Consider recycled tire mulch to conserve water and reduce waste in our statewide landfills.
  • Install cisterns and swales to catch rainwater from roofs and campus spaces for irrigation and other uses.
  • Consider a gray water or recycled water system to reduce the load on our potable community water systems.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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