Save Water, Save the World

Tue, 03/22/2016
In honor of World Water Day, we look into the steps we've taken to be a more water-conscious organization, how that connects us as individuals, and why we all need to flush less.

by Ria Nochera, Program Logistics Coordinator at The Ojai Foundation

March 22 marked the 23rd annual World Water Day—an international observance created by UN-Water in order to spread global awareness of water-related issues. This day provides an opportunity to learn more, inspire others, and take action to make a difference.  It certainly held special importance for those of us in southern California as we enter yet another year of “exceptional” drought. Though it would be easy to get distressed by our current water(less) state, it may be wiser to listen to the call for “timely action” instead. In honor of World Water Day, we would like to share the steps we’ve taken to be a more water-conscious organization and the ways you can get involved.

If you haven’t read the featured story from last month about our new water altar, be sure to check it out. We are now expanding on that project by installing a pressure tank. The tank will help distribute the well water through our irrigation systems as well as trickle it into our water altar. This installation will allow us to source most of our irrigation water from our own land rather than from the Casitas Municipal Water district, moving us further along towards water “independence.”

In the past 6 months The Ojai Foundation (TOF) has implemented a tremendous increase in our efforts to incorporate permaculture principles with water conservation. Last fall we coordinated a visit from Ranjendra Singh, "water man" of India, and Bernd Müller, leader of the Global Ecology Institute of Tamera. These two experts provided the TOF Land Team with practical suggestions for how to work with the land to welcome the water. The momentum gained from this consultation and the severity of the drought formed the TOF Land and Water Regeneration committee, which is currently overseeing a long-term "water-works" project. This undertaking was inspired by Singh and Müller’s previous visit and involves master planning and lots of hands-on volunteer work.

It is through our many service days and work retreats that we have been able to share our practices with the community and provide water regeneration education to the public. Our Land Sanctuary is constantly (and historically) shaped and supported by our devoted volunteers. This year they have worked to create water catchment features on our ridge site that slow, spread, and seep the rainwater into the ground. Not only does this mitigate erosion and help to regenerate the aquifer, but it's also a useful resource for irrigating our plants and fruit trees--an added perk of our efforts.

In our commitment to water regeneration we act as living stewards of The Ojai Foundation mission: to foster practices that awaken a connection with self, others, and nature. Water is within us and around us, a reminder of our global citizenship. Come to our next service day to learn how you can contribute to water conservation and regeneration in your home and community. We hope to see you there!

For more information on our next Day of Service on Sunday, April 17, click here.

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Water Conservation tips:

1. Use a 3-bin dishwashing system. It works like this: Using 3-gallon dishwashing bins, fill bin 1 about ¼ full with soapy water. Fill bin two halfway with plain water. Fill bin three ¾ of the way with water and a capful of bleach. Wash dishes in bin 1, rinse dishes in bin 2, and soak utensils and cups in bin three for at least thirty seconds (a sanitary measure for germs). When any of the bins’ water gets dirty, use the gray water to nourish your garden. Note that the bleach water can last several days before changing—just add another capful each day.

2. If you’ve ever traveled to a third world country, you’re most likely familiar with the phrase: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” This is such a simple and easy way to conserve. Do this and you could save 13 gallons of fresh water a day and 4,800 gallons in a year!