The Guild Report:   
Getting Through Our Drought     

January 2014  
In This Issue
Point of View
Saving 20%
Bay Area Water Supply
Quick Links

Point of View
Employee Owner

Suzanne Murphy

"I worked for Gardeners' Guild for 10 years as an interior tech and then left to start a family.  I so missed my GGI family and always hoped to return someday.  Now I'm back as a sales associate and very happy to be here.  I always feel supported by management to take on more responsibility and grow with the company and believe my success has always been in relationships with our clients and fellow employees."  


We are happy that Suzanne (we call her Zannie) has returned.  She is leveraging her interior knowledge to assist us in developing new business for our interior division.  

2014 Sonoma County Poster

"Bathroom Closed" due to water shortage 1977

Sunnyvale resident devised a pipe which saved hundreds of gallons of water 1991

Gardeners' Guild Our Planet
See the video on our sustainable program!

Now it's official - we are in a drought.

For some time we've been bracing for this.  What the announcement changes is the ability for districts to start enforcing restriction.  It also enables water transfers, provide financial assistance and suspending some state and federal regulations. 

The photo above is a graphic depicting the cause of our drought, a high pressure system off the West Coast.  It is nearly four miles high and 2,000 miles long!  It is so resistant that one researcher has called it the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge". 

Like a "brick wall", as the Mercury News describes it, the ridge has been blocking all Pacific winter storms from coming ashore.  Instead they have been redirected to Alaska and British Columbia.  Usually high-pressure zones eventually break down, but this one has been in place since December 2012.

At this point the Governor has suggested that we cut back on water usage 20%.  No mandatory restrictions yet. 

We can and will get through this.  This month there are some tips and a report of the status of water in several districts throughout the bay.

Breaking Weather news:  Forecasters say that the high pressure system is weakening this week.  We're crossing my fingers.

All the best,
Gardeners' Guild Inc.
Saving 20 Percent Outside   
It is normal for plants this time of year to need far less water.  When the soil is cool and there is less sun planter beds don't dry as quickly as in summer months.  However, our lack of rain and unseasonably warm weather means plants will need some supplemental watering. 

We have suggestions that will save you water.  

  • Converting from spray irrigation to drip.    
  • Turf removal and conversion to drought resistant plants.  Isolate areas and reduce watering schedules or eliminate watering altogether.   
  • If your turf is compacted or has higher than normal thatch this will impede the ability of your lawn and soil to take in water.  Aeration and de-thatching are critical practices in reducing the amount of water your turf needs. 
  • For turf areas: Ensure proper heights to the turf grass. Allow it to grow out as seasonally appropriate.  It will lessen heat exposure to soil, producing deeper roots and providing a larger soil reservoir to draw from. 
  • Have your irrigation checked to ensure there are no leaks and your system is properly adjusted to maximize your water applications. 
  • Once your irrigation is deemed to be efficient invest in weather based smart irrigation controllers and the state of the art sprinkler heads, nozzles, etc. 
  • Mulch planter beds.  This will increase their water holding capacity.
  • Assess your current irrigation system's frequencies and adjust accordingly.  Consider higher levels of water management strategies that measure against budgets.  
  • Gardeners' Guild will be addressing site specific management strategies with our customers.  

For more information see state's website 

Bay area water supply     
East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD)

The Mokelumne River watershed in the Sierra Nevada is the source of 90% of water to the MBMUD and because of the heavy rains in the fall of 2012 those reservoirs are still two-thirds full.  If drought conditions persevere, by March this district may decide on mandatory rationing.
There are still rebates available for lawn conversions and other water saving projects.

Marin County (MMWD)

MMWD services central and southern Marin.  75% of their water comes from the 21,635 acres of protected watershed on Mt Tamalpais and in the grassy hills of west Marin.  Rainfall from these watersheds flows into seven reservoirs.  Their water is treated and filtered before delivery. Current capacity in these reservoirs is .4-40% approximately.  25% water is imported from Sonoma County see report below in their status.
Possible mandatory rationing to be announced end of February.

Novato water comes from three sources:  80% Russian River, the rest from Stafford Lake and Recycled water.
Stafford Lake is at 30% of capacity
Sonoma County gets its water from the Russian River.  The river is fed from these two sources:
Lake Medocino: at 38% capacity
Lake Sonoma: 67% capacity

At this moment, Solano County is in good shape says Solano County Water Agency General Manager David Okita.
95% of its water is from Lake Berryessa which is 69% full.
The remaining 5% of their water is supplied by the state.

A recent news report has stated that the city's water supply - from Hetch Hetchy is at 70%.  Regardless of today's supply, the SFPUC will likely be advising of water restrictions soon.

Ten local reservoirs in the Santa Clara Valley Water District are at 33%.  This is 66% of the 20 year average, their spokesman Marty Grimes said. 
They have an advantage or abundant ground water, though.