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Sacramento kept sprinklers off, saw savings soar

Area residents cut water use 22% in dry November

Sprinkler
Lawn irrigation and other water uses were reduced
by Sacramento-area residents 22% in November.
(Photo: Kathy Morrison)



Good job, Sacramento-area water savers!

After crunching the numbers, Sacramento’s water watchers reported more huge savings by Sacramento-area residents. Apparently, October’s heavy rainfall carried over to water savings in November, which was unusually dry.

According to the Regional Water Authority, which represents 20 local water providers, Sacramento-area water use was down 22% in November compared to November 2020. That’s triple the statewide average, which saw overall California water use down 6.8% in November compared to a year earlier.

Sacramento’s savings are on top of a 13% drop in regional water use since the last drought.

Paired with a wet December, those savings put Sacramento-area residents in a good place, water-wise. But we could still do more.

“We’re asking everyone to keep up the great work by turning sprinklers off during rain and fixing household leaks,” said Amy Talbot, RWA’s water efficiency program manager. “We know through research that it’s easy for people to ignore those annoying little faucet and shower drips. But it’s important to remember that all of those little drips can quickly add up and that fixing leaks is often easier than you think.”

A leaky or running toilet is the most common household leak, Talbot said. Such leaks can waste 200 gallons a day. Following toilets are dripping faucets and shower heads.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 10% of homes have leaks that can waste 90 gallons or more per day, she added. That’s enough to fill 1,440 glasses of water – each day! In one week, it’s enough water to irrigate 126 full-size tomato plants.

Water providers offer several ways to help local residents including rebates and water-wise house calls to search for potential leaks and savings. Upgrade your irrigation system with rebates, too.

Find water-wise tips, rebate information and how-to videos at
BeWaterSmart.info .

In related news, the State Water Resources Control Board just Tuesday adopted drought rules outlawing water wasting, including overwatering lawns or hosing down sidewalks. Fines up to $500 are possible. See the Bee's story here.

Gov. Gavin Newsom had set a goal of a 15% reduction, which the Sacramento area met and surpassed. The statewide total for November, as the Bee's Dale Kasler reports, was just 6.8%; Southern California actually increased water consumption by 0.8%.


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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