Broke and Bone Dry: California Water Utility Companies are Essentially Fining Californians for Conserving Water!

I. am. so. thirsty…

It’s been a rough four years here on the West coast. A record drought has ravaged the land year after year and everyone has been feeling the effects. For two years in a row, farmers have had to fallow over a half million acres of land each year. Birds burst into flames spontaneous and drop from the skies like small squawking comets. Reservoirs are receding at alarming rates leaving little more than dried cracked earth and masses of huddled boats and extremely nervous fish.

I often liken it to living on the surface of the sun. When traveling about town, I find it prudent to make slow furtive movements, like that of a tortoise, in hopes that I do not dehydrate into a pile of dust like an ill-stowed mummy. I keep looking to the heavens in search of the giant child with a magnifying glass here to dole out karmic retribution for the evils of my youth.

As a gardener, I feel the effects on a profoundly deep and personal level.  But I’m not alone; it has gotten so bad that Gov. Jerry Brown (ex-lead singer of the Dead Kennedys*) has mandated a mandatory state-wide 25% reduction in water usage. In short, it’s been bleak people!

Mind Your Dirt urban “farms” has done its part in spades! I’ve gotten my water usage down between 60-70% without having to sacrifice too many plants. I’ve even figured out a way to maintain a small portion of my lawn with lush and deep green results!  I’ve created a small scale grey-water reclamation system, replaced many plants with native and drought-tolerant species, layered up thick mulches, and have tried creating shadier micro-climate / “cool zones” that also serve to produce food stuffs for my belly!

In other words, I’ve paid my dues more than two-fold of what was asked of me by the state of California.

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So why is it that I now have to suffer from increased rates and fees from the water utility company because their profits are being hindered by too much (mandatory) water conservation? Essentially they’re upset because I’m not buying the water that they don’t have to sell me in the first place?!? What fresh hell is this?

Just read for yourself.

It’s truly a “fined if you do, fined if you don’t” scenario and I am left bereft of hydration and money. Pooped and demoralized. Here, on the surface of the sun. As birds burst into flames.

If you’re having trouble seeing my tears it’s because they evaporate instantly.

[*just kidding. I had you there for a minute didn’t I…]

A Sea of Green: Responsibly Maintaining a Green Lawn During a Drought

I can’t believe I’m about to write a blog post about growing grass in the middle of a drought! I feel kinda crappy about it. But this is for the people out there that aren’t quite ready to dive in and remove their lawns just yet. Maybe it’s because you’re like me and can’t quite afford it yet or maybe it’s for emotional reasons.

Whatever the reason, let’s just say that despite living in Southern California during a record drought you still want to have that green grass under foot. I fully realize how reckless and selfish this want is. I fully understand how much this want goes against everything that I preach here on Mind Your Dirt. But when I look into these baby blues and see the joy that the green grass brings to my girl, all of that melts away in an instant.

Sasha with those Blue Eyes
“Please Father, may I have some grass?”

How can I refuse her? Short answer? I can’t. Continue reading “A Sea of Green: Responsibly Maintaining a Green Lawn During a Drought”