Is Thousand Oaks Still in a Drought?

by / 3 Comments / 837 View / February 17, 2017

Drought tolerant grasses

Drought tolerant grasses

Are we in a drought? Should I replant my lawn? Can I take more than one shower a week? California is emerging (hopefully) from a long and severe drought. Some parts of the state are even dealing with torrential rainfall and flooding. Last week the State Water Resources Control Board wrestled with whether they should declare the drought over. The Board finally decided it would be wise to wait until May so they would have a better understanding of the total precipitation for the season. As you can see from the graph below, we have had many drought years since the 1990s so there is good reason to be cautious.

This graph shows that the region has been in a significant drought for most of the last two decades.

This graph shows that the region has been in a significant drought for most of the last two decades.

So officially, the State and the City are still in a drought. This means we continue with two days a week outside irrigation watering in the winter. If the drought is declared over in May, the emergency restrictions will be eliminated, but the permanent water conservation measures will remain in place. We also need to prepare for the future where we make water conservation a way of life.

We know that our state is facing severe water challenges, and many communities and ecosystems are suffering as a result. Environmental problems, the pressures of a growing population and the effects of climate change are making it extremely difficult to keep water flowing reliably to our economy, our environment, our farms and our communities.

Going forward, we will need to continue to integrate water saving habits into our daily lives. The state is working on new regulations that will establish water budgets for each water agency. The current proposal would allocate 55 gallons per person per day for indoor use and the Board is developing a system to use aerial imagery to develop a water budget for outside irrigation. These rules would not take effect for a number of years, but City staff are preparing for these changes.

Our residents and businesses should prepare as well. Just as Californians have embraced energy efficient light bulbs and recycling, we can adopt habits to reduce our water use inside and outside our homes on a daily basis. As we have seen with energy conservation, small changes in our daily habits can make a big difference for California.

So join in this statewide effort to save California’s water.  Plant water-wise or butterfly-friendly landscaping, install a SMART irrigation controller, and reduce the amount of unnecessary turf or replace with drought resistant grass. These are just a few of the easy ways we can all help to “save our water.” Moreover, if you did reduce your showers to once a week, we appreciate your dedication, but suggest that you install a free water conserving showerhead from your local water agency instead.

Click this link to learn more about water conservation, how to check for leaks, how to report a leak or water waste, and more.

*Main photo taken in Rancho Sierra Vista that was once a dirt area a few months ago that is now a large pond. Photo courtesy of Conejo Valley Guide

3 Comment

  1. First of all, the caption on the graph is so small I can not read the numbers. Clicking on the graph does NOT help with a full size copy of the graph. Is this classified information? Why so stingy?

    Second, a statement at the bottom of the article states that the main photo (was) taken in Rancho Sierra Vista….. What main photo??? No photo appears in the article that shows “a large pond”.

    Third, why not recommend Native California plants as an attractive path to follow when trying to have long-range, drought tolerant landscape?

    Just my thoughts …..

  2. Build dams on the rivers in Ventura County to hold on to as much of the rain water as possible, instead of letting it run off into the ocean. This stupid situation has gone on for much too long. Use cloud seeding to create more rain. Some times, vast dark clouds pass over Ventura county with out raining. Cloud seeding may be able to cause some rain .

  3. Hi Bill, The photo of the large pond that was created in Rancho Sierra Vista is located in our blog. You can see that it is the photo next to the title in this link of our blog homepage:
    http://www.toaksgogreen.org/
    We agree that the photo is not apparent in the article itself, however we still need to give photo credit to photos we place in the blog that the photo relates to.
    As far as the graph, we apologize that it was hard to read. This was not intentional. The website we found it on had a low resolution graphic as well. Here is the link where we found the graph:
    https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/beyond-data/western-drought-it-aint-over-tilwell-it-aint-over
    as you can see, the graph is poor quality on the original website source as well.
    As for promoting drought tolerant and Native California plants, the blog you were referring to does mention planting waterwise and buttterfly friendly landscaping, and we do encourage this practice on our website and blog articles.
    Check out the links below in which we promote these plants:
    http://www.toaks.org/departments/public-works/sustainability/water-conservation/landscaping-and-lawns/best-grasses-plants
    http://www.toaksgogreen.org/native-butterfly-friendly-gardens-conejo-take-flight/
    http://www.toaksgogreen.org/lush-lawn-low-water/

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