Winter 2013/14 has been quite a challenge with record low freezing temperatures and record drought. Most of our pipes froze with the December freeze and luckily we didn’t have any breaks!
The drought has immersed California in a scramble to make ends meet with record-low rainfall, low snowpacks in the mountains, and entire municipal water supplies running close to dry in many towns, Willits to name but one! Laytonville is lucky in that we’re in the Long Valley, which has a huge aquifer supplying the town’s water supply and many wells. But most homes in Laytonville are out of the aquifer zone and many wells are running dry this winter. Fortunately we’ve finally gotten some good rains, but it’s literally a “drop in the bucket” compared to what we need to have enough water to meet demand.
The Laytonville Ecovillage is blessed with a very deep well that I’m now monitoring with a groovy new electronic depth gauge. This allows for measuring the elevation of the water, which in turn allows us to determine if we have enough water or are running out. Measuring wells is called “sounding the well,” and many well owners are just now learning how to do this.
Drought or no drought, we will conserve water and implement more water saving strategies. This June we’ll be installing another greywater system, and I’m looking into rainwater catchment tanks, swales for gardening, more drip irrigation, and of course practical low-flow plumbing basics.
Hopefully we’ll have a wet rainy Spring. But if not, we’ll be prepared to make the best use of the water we have.