The Drought’s Not Over! Continuing Water Conservation
It is important for Californians to continue to save water. Rainfall associated with El Niño is unlikely to end the drought.
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While recent rainstorms will help put a dent in California’s water deficit brought on by the drought, it will take six or seven years of above-average rainfall to refill groundwater basins and reservoirs and recover from the current drought, according to NASA.
In the meantime, it is important for Californians to continue the successful water conservation measures that have achieved record-setting water savings in recent years. By removing lawns and replacing them with drought-tolerant landscaping, harvesting rainwater, and using less water for day-to-day activities, Californians can adapt to ongoing water scarcity in the state.
Shut It Off
Homeowners can effectively save water with one simple practice: shutting irrigation systems off during and after rainstorms. For additional water savings, install rain barrels to collect rainwater from rain gutters for later use.
Residents of Long Beach, Orange County, and Los Angeles can apply for rebates for installing rain barrels at their homes. From time to time, free barrels are also offered. Contact your local water agency or city and county officials for more information.
If it’s time to replace your washer and dryer, toilet, or dishwasher, consider purchasing energy-efficient, low-water-usage appliances. Many water agencies provide rebates for approved appliances or for installing soil moisture sensors in your garden. These sensors indicate when the soil has retained enough moisture to keep plants hydrated without sprinklers.
Another important element of improving California’s water future is keeping waterways free of trash and debris. You can help by participating in local neighborhood or beach clean-ups.
For coastal communities, picking up trash on the beach prevents animals from accidentally ingesting garbage and keeps beaches clean for recreation.
For inland communities, picking up trash from streets and parks prevents it from washing into storm drains, rivers, and streams, then eventually traveling to the ocean. Several nonprofit organizations organize regular trash pick-ups, but you can also help by collecting trash you find when you go to the beach or park on your own.
The Aquarium hosts a beach clean-up each September for California Coastal Clean-Up Day and leads monthly volunteer days at the Los Cerritos Wetlands. These habitat restoration sessions are held on every first Saturday of the month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Volunteers help to remove non-native plants, collect seeds from native plants for later use, and remove trash. For details, visit aquariumofpacific.org/events.
Keep pollution out of the water system by properly disposing of any household hazardous waste, such as motor oil, paint, and pesticides.
When these substances enter storm drains after washing off of lawns or driveways as runoff, they can make their way into the ocean or groundwater basins that feed municipal water systems.
For more tips on water conservation and other ways to be an ocean steward, visit the Aquarium’s website at aquariumofpacific.org and click on Conservation.