We’re all well aware of the drought conditions plaguing California by now, but learning more about how to use water in a sustainable way, minimizing waste, is a higher priority than ever before in many of our lives. Here are two books that provide ideas and instruction for using the valuable resource more efficiently inside our homes and in our gardens, whether we want to begin with small changes or tackle more comprehensive water system transformation.

 

The Water-Wise Home: How to Conserve, Capture,
and Reuse Water in Your Home and Landscape

by Laura Allen
(Storey Publishing, 2015)

“Do you want to use less water? Capture rainwater falling from the sky? Redirect water from your shower to irrigate the landscape? Improve the health of rivers and creeks in your community? If so, this book is for you,” begins Laura Allen, founder of Greywater Action, in her comprehensive how-to handbook, which explains how to use water to avoid waste, save money, reduce wear on your septic system, and meet your home and garden needs. Allen describes proven conservation techniques, explains how to create a water-wise landscape, and provides illustrated, step-by-step instructions for setting up a waterless composting toilet as well as systems to reuse greywater and harvest rainwater.

 

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers
on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty

by Gary Paul Nabhan
(Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013)

Gary Paul Nabhan, an expert on the agricultural traditions of arid lands, presents strategies for adapting food production to achieve food security in the face of climate change and drought. The easy-to-read book presents success stories from other cultures, old and new, which have grappled with these issues. Learn to build moisture-holding capacity and nutrients in soils; protect fields from damaging winds, drought, and floods; harvest water from uplands to use in rain gardens and terraces filled with perennial crops; and select fruits, nuts, succulents, and herbaceous perennials best suited to warmer, drier climates. In Nabhan’s words, “this book is meant to empower you as readers to be alert to climate change right where you live, and to adapt to it through the way you access food.”