When we first got started with the Lakritz Family Farm it was clear that growing food on our property would be highly dependent upon access to water. While living in Northern California tends to mean lots of rain (here in Marin we average over 50 inches per year), we were in the middle of a serious drought when we decided to build the farm.
Being aware of our water supply meant that we needed to develop systems to ensure we would have enough water for whatever we planted.
The first step we took to help supply water for the farm was to install a small rainwater capturing system. This diverter pulls rain from the downspout into a barrel. With two 33 gallon barrels we managed to capture over 750 gallons of water last winter. The water was mostly used in the warm days of January and April and May after the spring rains.
Another step we took was hand watering the plants. This labor intensive method of water conservation was successful in reducing water usage and growing food. There are many other ways we can help ensure water supply to our homes and food supply.
Here’s a wonderful TedX Marin talk that explores large scale infrastructure methods of water conservation, reuse, and more. Author, Professor and Director of the Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering at UC Berkeley explores The Water Emergency: A no-holds-barred look at California’s water issue and a provoking challenge to address the drought: http://ow.ly/U38Zf