Water Conservation: A California Lifestyle

Finally, water conservation will no longer be something we talk about only when it doesn’t rain.

California State CongressIn his most recent Executive Order (click here), Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., signed a directive to the Department of Water Resources (The Department), the State Water Resources Control Board (The Board), and the Public Utility Commission (PUC). This latest directive has come on the heels of multiple drought proclamations (a joke) by many a California State Governor, where temporary measures have been put in place, and often times too late to do any good. Granted, Californians have learned to conserve this precious resource over the years, but unlike many of our other natural resources, like our forests, our air and our beautiful beaches, little respect is given to our water.

Water Conservation

Executive Order B-37-16 permanently extends all prior orders. This means things like watering lawns by way of sprinklers in new home subdivisions are prohibited. Like, when have you seen that recently, right? For the specific text of Executive Order B-29-15, signed April 1, 2015, click here.

Here’s a breakdown of the 13 items in the latest executive order titled, “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life”, and what it means to you.

  1. The Board shall extend the existing emergency water conservation regulations to be in affect through the end of January 2017, and begin to establish permanent water conservation regulations.
  2. Toilet_Rebate in Home DepotThe Department shall work with The Board to set stricter water conservation standards. Expect the following:
    • Forget the 1.6gpf toilets. These will be replaced with the highly technologically advanced 1.28gpf water closets, and you’ll be seeing more rebates for these, as well. (click here for a listing of municipalities currently offering REBATES) Toilets will be connected in a manner to receive rainwater, and all showers in new homes will be plumbed with a three-way valve for grey-water irrigation. Clothes and Dishwashers will be smarter.
    • Forget sprinklers and vast lawns. Irrigation systems will be smart and programmed to listen to the weather report and connected to satellite data. This has been around for years, but it will soon be standard. Turf replacement rebates will continue, and front yard Food Gardens will be more acceptable, especially where HOA’s once banned non-traditional landscaping.
    • Commercial waste-water recycling will be more economical as the same technology that currently is implemented in new construction will find it’s way into the existing built environment. Outdoor spaces will accommodate edible gardens and restaurants will take advantage of this trend, not only to save water, but to attract customers who are now growing up with a water conservation mentality, and locally grown fruits and veggies.
    • Leaking water pipes will be replaced… more jobs!
  3. Water suppliers must issue monthly reports on how much water is used, what kind of conservation efforts are being implemented and what they are doing to enforce the regulations. Look for additional water conservation rebates, and water-waster watch dogs.

    Water Conservation requires common sense
    Hosing off a driveway is now illegal…drought or no drought!
  4. Speaking of water-wasters, the following practices will be permanently outlawed, and not just during a proclaimed drought.
    • Hosing off driveways and other hardscapes with drinking water
    • Washing automobiles without an attached shut-off nozzle
    • Installing fountains and water features with non-recirculating pumps
    • Watering lawns within 48 hours of a rain event, and allowing water to run-off your property
    • Irrigating ornamental grasses in street medians (municipality’s responsibility)
  5. The Board and The Department will figure out a plan to get our leaky infrastructure fixed. Funds collected by high water users, and money set aside for water quality improvements will be spent on upgrading our antiquated infrastructure. Water saved through repairing leaking underground pipes are now considered a health concern, when some areas are actually without reliable potable water due to groundwater depletion. Rainwater collecting measures will be mandated for this very reason; to recharge our groundwater, and reduce stormwater runoff.
  6. The Board and The Department are tasked with expediting the data collecting and water system management plans that urban and agricultural water suppliers were directed to do last year in prior executive orders. The PUC is to order investor-owned water utilities to get with the program, and fix their leaks.
  7. Here’s an interesting item for all you entrepreneurs and inventors. The California Energy Commission has been assigned to certify innovative technologies that conserve water through loss detection and increase energy efficiency.
  8. The Department needs to develop stricter requirements to water agency’s Water Shortage Contingency Plans in order to serve the public better during these extended periods of drought.
  9. The Department, in developing these stricter requirements, must consult with the public (including local governments and environmental groups) in determining the best approaches in handling resources during severe drought conditions. The draft must be ready to release to the public by January 10, 2017. Here’s a chance to get involved with the writing of the state’s water policy.
  10. Those areas not included in the purview of a required Water Shortage Contingency Plan, The Department will work with you in developing one, like it or not.
  11. The Department will work with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to update the Agricultural Water Management Plan. Water conservation is the key here, but maintaining the production of a healthy agricultural economy becomes a delicate balancing act.
  12. The Department will now require an Agricultural Water Management Plan for water suppliers with over 10,000 acres. This requirement used to be set for suppliers serving over 25,000 acres.
  13. The Department and CDFA, in developing the required update to the AWMP, must again consult with the public (including local governments and environmental groups). This draft must also be ready to release to the public by January 10, 2017.
The future belongs to our children!
The future belongs to our children!

Overall, this appears to be a good start to implementing measures that will get us all talking about water conservation in everything we do, and become second nature to our children and our grandchildren. Once again, another step toward creating a Lifestyle in Sustainability.

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Power of Hydrogen (pH)

pH = Power of Hydrogen

An image of the pH Scale from 1 to 14Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the galaxy, or at least in the world as we know it. It is a gaseous, colorless and highly flammable substance. Think of the Sun, and Energy! The pH scale is how we measure the specific balance of hydrogen, whether it be our body chemistry, the food we consume, the soil in our gardens, or the water we drink. In scientific terms, pH is the numeric scale that is used to specify the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. The higher the pH, the higher the concentration of hydrogen-ions and the more alkaline and oxygen rich the fluid is. The lower the pH level, the more acidic and oxygen deprived the fluid is. These levels range from 0 to 14, with of course, 7 being neutral.

 

Our Bodies are considered Alkaline

Image of the Human Body and pH LevelsOverall, our bodies want to stay slightly above neutral. Ideally, human blood is 7.4 and within the narrow margin of 7.35 – 7.45. Anywhere above or below these numbers is a good indicator that something is wrong somewhere inside of us. Cells actually stop functioning below a pH level of 6.8, or above a 7.8, and this often results in death. Our digestive tract, however, varies greatly and depending where along this vast network inside our body, from our taste buds, into our stomach and down through our small and large intestines, the pH levels can be anywhere between 1.5 – 8.5.

A healthy body is slightly alkaline, and if you have a health problem, chances are you are acidic and the body has a hard time healing itself. Many outside factors, that we have no control over, can have an adverse effect on our bodies, of course, but there are many things we can do to offset this negative energy. One the easiest things we have control over, and how we regulate the pH level in our body, is what we put in it. It’s important to keep the pH level balanced in order to properly assimilate the food, vitamins, minerals or food supplements that you are ingesting. Otherwise, these good things we consume are just going to waste, literally.

 

Balancing pH with Food

Photo of healthy foodTo keep our bodies balanced, we want to keep our pH levels above neutral, or alkaline. Foods can either help raise, or lower the pH levels in our body, but it’s the mineral content of the food that controls it, not the particular pH level of the food. For example, lemons are highly acidic with a low pH, but has an alkalizing effect on our body when consumed. In general, most vegetables (unless pickled or frozen) are alkaline in nature, as are many fruits. Beans, like soy, navy and lima, and seeds, like caraway, cumin, fennel and sesame are all great at raising your pH level.

White breads, tortillas, whole grains and brown rice all fall in the acidic range. Other food that has low pH levels are peanut butter, canned tuna, canned vegetables, and most, if not all condiments, like catsup, mayonnaise and mustard. As you probably guessed, coffee, beer and liquor are all highly acidic, and low in pH, as is tea and sweetened fruit juice.

Check out this resource to discover how other Foods rate on the pH Scale.

 

Growing Food with the proper pH

Photo of a pH Meter in a gardenPlants need the proper pH level in order to be productive, just like in our own bodies. This proper pH balance is achieved through the amendments put into the soil in which they grow. Some plants thrive in alkaline soil, while others do much better in slightly more acidic soil. Most farmers and garden enthusiast will tell you, it’s the soil that is key to great food production.

Soil is the backbone to healthy food, and good soil is being depleted around the world. We can do our part by taking measures to keep storm water from washing away good top soil in our own yards, and harvesting the rainwater that falls on our property. Other measures we can take, is to compost our food scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings, which keeps our soil balanced and full of proper nutrients. From here we can add different amendments to create the proper pH levels that our plants need to thrive.

Some Fruit and Vegetable plants prefer HIGHER pH Levels

  • Beans and Peas
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower
  • Cabbage and Lettuce
  • Spinach and Tomato
  • Peaches and Strawberries

When our soil is low in pH (Acidic) and we want to raise it to be more Alkaline, we can add Ground Limestone. Apply 10-1/2 oz. per sq. yd. of your garden area.

Fruits and Vegetable plants that prefer LOWER pH Levels

  • Potatoes and Carrots
  • Blackberries and Raspberries
  • Melons and Lemons

When our soil is high in pH (Alkaline) and we want to lower it to be more Acidic, we can Sulfate of Ammonia. Apply 2-1/2 oz. per sq. yd. of your garden area.

 

Alkaline Water

Photo of kid drinking waterRemember what I wrote earlier about the higher the pH, the higher the concentration of hydrogen-ions and the more alkaline and oxygen rich the fluid is? THIS is what makes alkaline water so important when it comes to hydrating our body, for it’s this high level of oxygen that actually creates a more hydrating affect on the water, thus providing increased assimilation. When the water we drink is properly assimilated, it reduces dehydration, which is a factor in many major health problems, according to Dr. F. Batamanghelidj in his book, “YOU’RE NOT SICK, YOU’RE THIRSTY”.

Again, when healthy, our body has sufficient alkaline reserves to balance itself, and naturally resists disease, but as we consume more and more foods that are high in acid (low in pH), our body feels the affects. An excellent way to help your body be more alkaline is to drink more alkaline water.

Think balance, and the Power of Hydrogen!

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