Drier Doesn’t Have to Be Dire
by Lori D. Palmquist
Isn’t the natural world glorious? Life just feels so remarkably precious … and fragile.
As our magnificent hills and open spaces turn from green to golden brown, the grasses seem to be waving goodbye to spring. And it feels like we need to fortify ourselves to face the coming summer. Ever-present drought and the threat of wildfire are calling us to action as spring slips away.
Both EBMUD and Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) announced their Stage Two Water Shortage Contingency Plans on April 21. EBMUD is calling for a mandatory 10% reduction in water use, and CCWD a voluntary 15% water reduction. They’re both using 2020 water use as a baseline for this. And EBMUD is also restricting outdoor watering to three times a week.
We need to be mindful of not only using water efficiently but using it responsibly. We can look to the websites of our local water districts where a treasure trove of vital information, resources, and rebates are provided. We can use those sites to inform ourselves and up our game, in taking the first steps toward drought-proofing our landscapes.
In addition, it seems that now, more than ever, the onus is on us to not only step up our dry game and protect our precious water supply, but to increase our consciousness around the threat of wildfire. We need to educate ourselves to be advocates for protecting life and property. Be a role model for your neighbors and take the steps to harden off your house and property. Check out this great UC resource that directs us in how to set up our properties to protect them from wildfires: Reducing the Vulnerability of Buildings to Wildfire: Vegetation and Landscaping.
As we draw closer to the driest time of year, I urge you to remember how you can be an agent of positive change by embodying the concepts of water conservation, wildfire preparedness, and sustainability. Consciousness is the main event. What we focus on creating, with passionate intent and expectation, we make so. I love the word “proactive.” Rather than being leaves blown around by the wind, when we’re proactive, we ARE the wind. Can we direct our actions to demonstrate and to teach how to live safely and thrive in a dry, fire-prone California? Of course we can. We just have to believe it.
Lori D. Palmquist, UC Master Gardener of Contra Costa County