Oct 1 marks the the first day of new water year in California. After the previous 5 years of drought, it is becoming clear the new year will be another dry one, continuing the drought that started from 2012. 6th year of drought – that is what we are facing. The photo above was shot during a hike at the Steven Creek area in Santa Clara county, South Bay. It was alarming to see, the creek, once so wide, as evidenced by the river bed area, has shrunk down to just a very narrow line. In the creek, there is hardly enough water to sustain the flow. Some parts of the creek has completely run dry. As of now, 62% of the state is still in Severe Drought, with 42% in Extreme Drought. The rains brought by El Nino last year did alleviate the drought to some extent, but did not end it. In Southern California the drought situation continue to be very serious. Still Need to Conserve Water Facing the severe drought situation, everyone in the state still need to put in the effort and conserve water. When the emergency regulation of 25% mandatory reduction was implemented last year, collectively, Californians conserved 24.5% of water from June 2015 to May 2016. It was a very remarkable achievement. After the mandate was lifted this June, unfortunately, the water conservation levels declined 3 months in a row. In August, it went below 20%, the lowest for any summer and fall months since last year. The situation is loud and clear: we are still in a drought, and we can not afford to use water like before. Replace Lawn with Water Efficient Garden Outdoor watering for a lawn typically accounts for half or more of an household’s total water use; to convert a lawn to a water efficient garden is the most effective way to conserve water. Use this calculator to find out how much water you can save by converting. For a lawn of 500 square feet, it can take as much as 4000 gallons of water in a month; if it is replaced with a water efficient garden, 30% to 80% of water can be conserved. Suppose the original household water usage is 8000 gallons a month, and the garden saves 50% of water, the total water usage will reduce to 6000 gallons, a 25% saving versus the original. In Santa Clara County, you may get rebate for replacing your lawn. The Rebate Program is still open for application. Hurry, put in your application now before the funds are depleted. An Water Efficient Garden Can Be Beautiful A water efficient garden do not need to be bare or arid; on the contrary, it can be full of colors and very pretty. Select from a variety of plants of different colors, shapes, height and coverage; choose a design that best showcase each plant’s beauty.