As climate change continues to produce drastic weather events around the world, including overall warming across icy waters and land masses covered in sand and soil and concrete, droughts wreck havoc with ecosystems and with the lifestyles of area inhabitants.
From the New York Times, Jan. 17, 2014, about northeastern California near Lake Tahoe:
“Cattle ranchers have had to sell portions of their herd for lack of water. Sacramento and other municipalities have imposed severe water restrictions. Wildfires broke out this week in forests that are usually too wet to ignite. Ski resorts that normally open in December are still closed; at one here in the Sierra Nevada that is open, a bear wandered onto a slope full of skiers last week, apparently not hibernating because of the balmy weather.”
In Southern California, it is temperatures in the 80s, more raging fires, and municipality-imposed watering restrictions across the wilting landscape. Governor Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency, as mid-summerlike weather engulfs the state, weather drier even than last year’s extreme conditions.
California’s snowpack that forms over the winter and melts in spring and summer to provides water for more than 25,000,000 of the state’s residents has now been measured to be 20% of its historic average.
Putting aside the questions of availability of potable water for drinking, cooking, and bathing, the impact on gardens and lawns is staggering. But it does not have to be. Planning and preparation, and a little do-it-yourself yard work, and any able-bodied homeowner can create a self-sustaining rain garden that can flourish at a time of limited water availability.
Rather than letting rainwater run across roofs, driveways, sidewalks and gutters, and into the sewer system to be contaminated with waste and poisons, create a system where rainwater is captured, collected, and diverted to plants and grasses. Continue reading