Overwatering Is Out

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What a difference a year makes

We all know that the impact of the drought goes well beyond our own garden and landscape, but sometimes it is easy to get lost in the weeds (or, for a gnome, lost in the grass) and only think about our own world. Fortunately, our friends over at the United States Department of Agriculture are watching the drought pretty closely and make it easy to see the big picture.

They publish a weekly map showing drought conditions throughout California and this is the most recent map. Sooo, let’s take a look!


Whoa, that is a lot of red. The good gnews is that the dark red (“exceptional drought”) has not yet reached Orange County. The bad gnews is that it is creeping along.

Let’s take a closer look at the table.

In my gnomish opinion, the most important column is the red D3-D4 column. That column shows the percentage of the entire state that is in “extreme drought.” Almost 72% of California is in extreme drought or worse. Now look at the bottom row. This time last year, 0% of California was in extreme drought. Wow. What a difference a year makes.

As scary as the drought can seem, I like to remember how easy it is to do my part. Watering one day less per week, checking my sprinklers, adding mulch, or even just planting a California friendly plant all helps.

California is in a drought; overwatering is out. I can do my part. Can you?

Share your comments with us


  1. Jane Bezel Says:

    March 28th, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I have been interested in starting a rock garden in my front yard but can’t afford to have it done professionally. I wondered if you have any programs to encourage residents to cut down on their lawn areas.

    People still don’t seem to understand the drought conditions and are more interested in having the greenest lawn on the block. I think educating residents is a must. Maybe an insert in their water bill would be helpful.

  2. Gnorman Says:

    April 1st, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Jane!

    Thanks for your comment and great initiative on starting a beautiful (and smart!) rock garden. All of Orange County has programs to help offset the cost of removing grass and replacing it with water friendly alternatives. Our Rebates page (scroll to the top) can get you started. Across Orange County you’re looking at more than $1 per square foot of grass removed (it varies by city) and that money can go to offsetting the cost of new plants, rocks, or other improvements.

    I tell you what, Jane. Next week we’ll start looking at savvy ways to cut down on lawn areas and get water smart. You inspired me.

    P.S. If you (or any OC resident) wants help filling out rebates, send me an email and I’m happy putting my gnome friends to work to make being water wise the path of least resistance!

  3. Shaista Says:

    May 1st, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I wish there was a sign I could put in my lawn that gracefully but clearly announces that we’ve made a conscientious choice to let our lawn go because of the water shortage. It would make me feel better by letting my neighbors know that we’re not just being lazy or cheap, and also would hopefully encourage others to follow suit.

    I feel pressure in my Garden Grove neighborhood to maintain a green lawn, and even though we’ve converted a good deal of it to water-saving landscaping, there’s still plenty of green grass left.

  4. Gnorman Says:

    May 7th, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Shaista,

    Now that is a great idea. Let me put my gnome friends to thinking and see if we can’t come up with some ideas.