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The Green Life: Turn That Umbrella Upside Down

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February 26, 2009

Turn That Umbrella Upside Down

Rainwater As rain falls onto a parched landscape, many Californians are doing more than just sighing with relief. They're recognizing that drought still threatens to deplete aquifers, create dust-bowl conditions in fallow agricultural land, and degrade the habitat of Chinook salmon and endangered delta smelt. Faced with a long-term weather forecast that predicts the state's $30 billion harvest to be at risk, more Californians are finding hope in another kind of harvest: that of water.

By shifting how they approach landscape design to allow for increased rainwater retention, some residents are creating productive edible gardens and wildlife habitats in their yards. Others are constructing simple water catchment systems on their roofs or graywater recycling systems that put leftover water from showers, bathroom sinks, and washing machines to good use.

--Melissa Weiss

Thirsty for more info? A growing number of books, websites, and hands-on workshops are devoted to the art of water harvesting.

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