“There is none with a greater variety of effects than water. In nature, it begins by being an invisible atom of air and vapour, then it is converted into drops, and ends up as the ocean covering the greater part of the globe.”
–Edmond Szekely, “Cosmos, Man and Society,” 1936
Our valley receives only about 9 inches of rain in recent years, so even the hardiest plants in our gardens may require some regular watering, especially during the long spells between rains which may stretch into months. Our water conservations practices include:
- Drip irrigation systems direct calibrated amounts of water to individual plants.
- An on-site waste treatment facility captures gray water for the drip irrigation system.
- “Mediterranean” and other eco-equivalent plants that thrive in drier climes—as well as plants native to our region—help minimize or eliminate the need for excessive watering.
- Lawn areas, which we still consider essential to some outdoor guest activities, are kept to a minimum. Lawn care and our gardening without the aid of pesticides and herbicides is in line with our health practices so that pollutants are not washed away in the rain to find their way into streams.
- Mulch is used extensively in the gardens to minimize evaporation and allow maximum use of natural rainfall and/or irrigation by plant root systems.
- A biological marsh captures gray water from a cluster of guest cottages, and the resulting clean water is returned to a creek that runs through Rancho La Puerta. A similar marsh now processes gray water at La Cocina Que Canta cooking school.
- Eco-friendly cleansers are used in the maintenance of our rooms, lessening the need for extensive rinsing of surfaces (such as countertops and floors) that have been cleaned with more typical, highly corrosive and/or toxic cleansers.
- Several of our public facilities have composting toilets and/or waterless urinals. More are planned.
- Chain downspouts and French drains provide an attractive and efficient method for helping rainwater soak into the ground without erosion.
- Paving materials set in sand allow rainwater to replenish soil moisture without excess runoff.
- Water-oxygenating technology keeps swimming pools and hot tubs clean with only a minute application of chlorine. One large pool devoted to exercise uses a salt-based water quality system that is gentle to hair, skin and eyes.
- Guests are encouraged to bring their own refillable water bottles. We also provide water bottles for those who wish them. Filtration systems eliminate the use of commercially bottled water at Rancho La Puerta.
- Laundry facilities for guest use feature water-efficient Energy Star certified washers.
- Guest room showers and toilets use “low flow” water conservation technology.
- Well water tapped from our valley’s extensive aquifer is available but is monitored carefully, especially during periods of drought, and always used in moderation.