The North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council supports various water conservation practices and techniques. Periodic droughts facing the North Coast focuses attention on water conservation. Although we all hope for normal rainfalls, those of us in agriculture or who just enjoy gardening must plan ways to conserve water. Rain gardens for homeowners and businesses as well as increasing water storage in the form of ecologically sound ponds that also enhance wildlife could be beneficial.
The North Coast is a prime area to consider augmenting water storage for summer use through use of ecologically sound ponds. Groups elsewhere in California are already exploring this option. Sustainable Conservation is a non-profit organization based in the San Mateo-Monterey Counties area. This organization has worked with the San Mateo Farm Bureau and Coastal Conservancy to develop economically and environmentally sustainable water supplies for farmers along the Santa Cruz and San Mateo coasts, and successfully implemented a pond-building program using reclaimed wastewater.
Also useful is capturing runoff from roofs and paving to recharge our aquifers. In some cases, we can both recharge our aquifer as well as use the captured water for gardening. This latter is known as a rain garden, and can also be a lovely landscaping water feature. A rain garden uses nature as its framework: the rain falls, the water is directed toward a low area where it drains an infiltrating area. Sometimes, the water is captured in tanks, but often it merely has enhanced infiltration into the soil. The area around the low lying spot is planted with native plants--often lovely flowering species-that are naturally adapted to dry summer conditions. Their deep roots usually mean that little or no irrigation is required during the dry period. Goldenrod, purple coneflower, salvia, native ornamental grasses, milkweed, blanket flower, butterfly bush, seaside daisy, yarrow, catmint, ornamental and culinary oreganos, rosemary, lavender, santolina, California poppies and other native wildflowers can thrive as well as serve as pollination habitat. Additional information on rain gardens can be found at:
The Council recently participated in an Earth Day celebration near Fort Bragg with a display regarding rainwater harvesting; the references used with that display are listed below.
- Rain garden manual handbook from the Native Plant Society
- San Francisquito Watershed Council suggestions for rainwater utilization
- Rainwater harvesting information and resources from San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
harvesting brochures and information from
Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District, Virginia
- Useful information on rainwater harvesting from the Texas Water Development Board
- Rainwater Consumer Guide from Australian Rainwater Industry Development Group
- Virginia Rainwater Harvesting Manual
- Rainwater Harvesting Guide from Oregon State Building Codes Commission