Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

My turn: Turn your irrigation off, please!

by Alan Day

Wonderful! The series of storms last week in Northern California, with the snowfall and steady soaking rains, was absolutely wonderful. You could almost hear the ground drinking it in.

But the drought is far from over. Much like other water districts, here in El Dorado County at the El Dorado Irrigation District we have declared an emergency and are at a Stage 2 drought warning. Currently we are asking all our customers (homeowners, businesses, institutional and agricultural) to voluntarily find ways to reduce water consumption by 30 percent.

We’ll be measuring this systemwide from the outflow of our water treatment facilities. At this point we won’t be going door-to-door checking up on individuals; it’s on the honor system.

I’m hoping that everyone pulls together to save water and to encourage their friends, neighbors and employers to save water. We need to see a dramatic reduction in water use to save as much as possible for this summer and beyond.

If we see those reductions we can keep things on a voluntary basis. Failing that, and with continuing drought, the EID board might be forced to look at mandatory restrictions and/or rate surcharges. Both of which, as board president, I would like to avoid if at all possible.

Can we reduce our consumption of water that much? I believe so. If you are already conserving a lot, great — please try to find a couple more ways to save; if not trying too hard, then please get busy. It’s not as hard as it may seem. Go to EID’s Website (EID.org) for great tips on how to find water savings.

In particular, reducing water use by 30 percent is readily achievable for many, given that outdoor irrigation can account for 40-60  percent of a typical residential customer’s water use.

So please, go turn your outdoor irrigation off for awhile.

And keep it off for as long as possible. Personally, since we had that nice soaking rain, I’m going to keep our outdoor irrigation system off for several weeks, well into March if at all possible. Yes, really, several weeks (or more if we get any more rain).

The nights are cool, the days relatively short, so there is very little evaporation and little plant growth activity this time of year. Even in the recent dry days of January this was true.

Unfortunately, many folks watered too much in January. EID’s data showed that, and I’ve talked with people who told me they were watering three days a week, every other day, or a few who were watering every day. Some were dumping a bunch of water on their freeze damaged/dormant lawns and plants ‘cause they looked brown and dry. Unfortunately, most of that water did not help the plants and was just lost to us for good.

When you do start irrigating again do so gradually. The single best irrigation practice is to water deeply, but as infrequently as possible. This means multiple short cycles, all in the same day, to soak the water in while avoiding runoff. Then not watering for several days, a week, or more. If you can get the water down deeper, your plant roots will grow deeper as well where water and roots both stay cooler with much less evaporation. Even if the surface dries out the moisture is still down there keeping the plants cool, hydrated and happy.

Having or putting a good layer of organic matter over the soil and roots will help a great deal as well. A couple inches of mulch, bark or even a light layer of leaves (much like in nature) really makes a big difference in moisture retention.

We need to save every drop of water we can, there is no telling if or when the drought will ease up. Last week’s storms were wonderful, but we need five or six more big ones like it to make a real dent. Hopefully, colder storms, too, to help with the snowpack. But time is not on our side.

Please join me in finding ways to save water, and in particular turn your outdoor irrigation system off for as long as possible. If you are unsure how long to keep it off there are inexpensive moisture sensors that you can get to test your soil from time to time; or, be an old school gardener like me and test the soil with your finger!

Alan Day is EID board president and represents District 5 in El Dorado Hills; owner of a landscape business; and a former UC Master Gardener. 

Special to the Democrat

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 9 comments

  • James E.February 14, 2014 - 4:49 pm

    I took a two minute shower this morning. It can be done. And, my water tip for the day: When you wash your hands a trickle of water will do instead of full flow.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Fran DuchampFebruary 14, 2014 - 5:04 pm

    People who want all those rooftops... Realtors, developers, chamber, CEDAC, and CEDAPP--please read articles about saving water...unless we are saving water so that you can built those roof tops and roundabouts. Wait a min. Some of the CEDAC people grow grapes and apples....are you cutting back as well? <---keep this in mind when they are talking about LUPPU :)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Miss MFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:14 pm

    Is it possible to water tank the rain for private property use (gardening, etc. ) or is this illegal in your county?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • It's the water!....and a lot more.February 15, 2014 - 4:31 pm

    No and yes.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • cookie65February 19, 2014 - 11:08 am

    If it is illegal the EPA will be flying a drone over your house. Comforting thought isn't it. We aren't in Kansas anymore.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Liberal TaxpayerFebruary 19, 2014 - 11:56 am

    We certainly are not in Kansas. And it's a good thing we are not in West Virginia. That's where the right have managed to eliminate all inspections by the EPA. And we all know what happened there. Or, we could be in Russia where hotel water will chemically burn your face. No EPA in Mother Russia? You betcha! Be careful and maybe a little more concerned about this ugly, polluted country you are wishing for. I love America AND California and I don't want to see either one destroyed by people who want to run willy nilly with our environment.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • cookie65February 19, 2014 - 12:53 pm

    Your ideology will have this country looking like Russia long before mine will. Compare the ghettos and bastions of prosperity created by your ideology peppering this country and compare anyone of them to mother Russia comrade. They suffer from what all leftist experiments suffer from, financial ruin. Leftism isn't just an environmental disaster, it is also a human disaster.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Frank Barnes, Grizzly FlatFebruary 20, 2014 - 5:54 am

    The real issue here is about freedom, most people have a hard time justifying washing their hands w only a trickle of water after watching Jerry Brown's ridiculous pirate ship show followed by the water fountain spectacle - this goes on 365 days a year - how much water does that use?? People would still come to the casinos without all that - I will take shorter showers when Caesar's Palace turns off their faucets!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jim RiordanFebruary 20, 2014 - 2:09 pm

    Alan, one nagging question. One resident and his wife, who have been allegedly conserving water already, per EID's LAST request to do so, are now wondering what to do since they are now at the absolute lowest water usage they can achieve. They simply cannot reduce their consumption any more. I understand their dilemma. If you do not take that into consideration, how will EID get others to conserve if they see that they will eventually end up in the same situation; in effect being punished for conserving? Why is it that EID cannot determine a minimum usage for 2 people, 4 people, 6 people etc., and then notify residents of that usage "limit" before folks end up having to take showers with bottled water because 30% of what they are using NOW would result in only a trickle? Wouldn't it be smarter to simply say no more NEW home hook ups until such time as EID can project those minimum usage numbers for EXISTING homes?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

News

 
Goodbye LUPPU, hello LRPU

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

Past due state taxes bring arrest

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

 
Sanford trial: Prosecution, defense rest

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Woman, dog back from Oso

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
 
DA candidate to remain on ballot

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A9

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Benji and the Bickersons

By Matthew Margolis | From Page: A10

 
CPCSD seat unfilled

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

Lew Uhler backs Ranalli

By News Release | From Page: A14, 6 Comments

 
.

Letters

Evacuation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 6 Comments

 
District 4 candidate

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 16 Comments

Open meetings

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 6 Comments

 
Volunteers and homeless camps

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 73 Comments

Bicycle events and traffic control

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 6 Comments

 
.

Sports

Jennings wins national title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Savannah Stephens can swing the bat

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A11 | Gallery

King of the West roars into Placerville

By Gary Thomas | From Page: A11

 
First and goal: Bunt etiquette

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

Oak Ridge suffers tough 2-1 setback

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

 
Roundup: April 17, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Prospecting

Plantastic sale this Saturday

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Spring art brightens government center

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: April 18, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

 
Time out: A grand time at Grand China

By Earle Camembert | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Temple Kol Shalom hosts Passover Seder

By News Release | From Page: B3

 
Student art featured for Third Saturday

By News Release | From Page: B3

Promenade in high style

By Historic Old Sacramento | From Page: B4

 
Sac State Presents ‘Gypsy’

By California State Unversity, Sacramento | From Page: B4

Friday nights are engaging at the de Young

By Fine Arts | From Page: B5

 
Hats On For the Kids raises money for children

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B6

See what is inside the vault

By Center For Sacramento History | From Page: B6

 
Eggstravaganza

By Fairytale Town | From Page: B6

Gallery tips a hat to Dr. Seuss

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B7

 
Museum presents ‘Diesel Days’

By California State Railroad Museum | From Page: B7

Engagement: Adam Frega and Wednesday Bienusa

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

 
Duty: Air Force Airman Brian Polk

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

Cal Stage presents a season of challenging productions

By California Stage | From Page: B8

 
Duty: Army Pfc. Kyle W. Beasy

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

KVIE calls for artists

By Kvie | From Page: B9

 
A Couple of Blaguards tell tales

By Harris Center for the Arts | From Page: B9

America’s ClayFest II celebrates a rich history

By Blue Line Arts | From Page: B14

 
Fine Arts Museums feature two shows

By Fine Arts | From Page: B15

See wildflowers on train ride

By Railtown | From Page: B15

 
Easter at Northstar is family friendly

By Northstar California | From Page: B15

.

Essentials

Crime Log: March 28-30

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Roy Cluness Chaix

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Frederick Wilbur Heymann

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Arthur W. Cornell

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Frank “Bud” Kraus Jr.

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

Faster sales with spring staging

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

 
Coldwell Banker outsells the competition

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Handsome Redmond suits modern families

Press Release | From Page: HS11

 
Growing your own

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS14

 
Fraud workshop scheduled

Press Release | From Page: HS21

HCD launches assistance program

Press Release | From Page: HS22, 1 Comment

 
EZ Mortgages Inc. opens Placerville office

By News Release | From Page: HS22, 2 Comments

.

Comics

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Horoscope, Friday, April 18, 2104

By Contributor | From Page: A14

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A14

 
Horoscope, Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A14

Horoscope, Saturday, April 19, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A14

 
.

Home Source

Faster sales with spring staging

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Coldwell Banker outsells the competition

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Handsome Redmond suits modern families

Press Release | From Page: HS11

Growing your own

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS14

Fraud workshop scheduled

Press Release | From Page: HS21

HCD launches assistance program

Press Release | From Page: HS22, 1 Comment

EZ Mortgages Inc. opens Placerville office

By News Release | From Page: HS22, 2 Comments