Friday, October 20, 2017

Guys and Dolls With 2017 Characteristics

I love Trump a bushel and a Pence
A bushel and a Pence  and a Gorsuch on the Bench
A Gorsuch on the Bench and a tax cut on the way
A tax cut on the way and we all can say Hooray

I love Trump, I love Trump

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Conserving Water With California Characteristics

The 2016-17 rainy season in California broke a five-year drought.  During those dry years, the state and local governments imposed a number of regulations to conserve water.  For example, new homes could not have lawns, watering outdoor plants was limited to specific hours of the day two days a week, and washing cars with running water was forbidden.  Some restrictions have been eased while others remain in place.  There are no guarantees when it comes to predicting annual rainfall in California.  Better to sustain conservation in case another multi-year drought materializes, especially since the state government shows little inclination to build dams or otherwise increase water storage facilities.

Restrictions on water use were also accompanied with incentives to conserve water.  Homeowners were offered rebates to tear outlawns and put in drought tolerant plans. In Palo Alto, for example, the current rebate is $2.00 per square foot for the first 1,000 square feet and $1.00 per square foot thereafter, up to the project cap per home.  The rebate requires a minimum of 50% plant coverage consisting of low water using plants from the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Approved Plant List.

There are also rebates to switch from pop-up sprinklers to drip irrigation and irrigation equipment upgrades.

Several years ago, in the midst of the drought, the BTW (beautiful talented wife) and I were tired of dethatching, seeding, fertilizing, weeding, applying insecticides, mowing, watering, and repeating the cycle.  We were also tired of spending money in pursuit of golf greens in our front and back yards, which was impossible to achieve on a twice-weekly watering regimen.

We decided to go whole hog.  We ripped out the front and back lawns, covering the bare soil with tarps and redwood bark.  Instead of saving at least 50% on water consumption, we were going to save 100%, permanently.  (We left the irrigation system in place in case a future homeowner would like to install drought-tolerant landscape.)

I phoned the Santa Clara County Water Department to request the rebate based on the square footage of lawn we removed.  I asked the polite gentlemen who answered if he would take my request to the Water Board.  He did so, but the Board rejected my request.  Getting the rebate requires that 50% of the area be replaced with water-tolerant plants.  The county retains the right to reclaim the rebate if it discovers that a homeowner overplants or replaces approved plants with those not on the list.

I thought my request was reasonable.  Redwood bark is in widespread use as ground cover.  By not replanting, I would be maximizing water conservation compared with homeowners covering 50% of their former lawn area with drought tolerant plants that still need watering.

Oh well!