Ocean Waves Ocean Waves

Although almost 80 percent of Earth is covered with water, only 3 percent of the planet's water resources represent fresh water. Living on the Monterey Peninsula, surrounded by water, it seems odd that we would have to worry about water conservation efforts, but the fact is that it is necessary for us in order to ensure there is enough clean drinking water to go around.

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Water-wise Landscaping

The Monterey Peninsula's water shortage is severe, and as such, Cal-Am and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Water District have teamed up to offer a significant rebates to promote the installation of rain catchment systems.A water catchment system is saving normally wasted water and reusing it for irrigation or other non-potable (non-drinkable) uses. You can install catchment systems in various forms, from comprehensive gray water systems to simple rain barrels. Either way, these systems will save you money in the long term in the face of rising water costs in the Monterey area.

To learn more about how you can capture rainwater and apply for rebates go to:


The plants we choose to use, as well as the type of lawn or whether we have a lawn at all, affect water usage and biodiversity, both of which are important for a properly functioning natural environment. Following some simple steps will help to ensure that your lawn and garden will only have a positive impact on the environment.

  • Use native plants - See a list of local tree and plant selections in our Urban Forestry section.  Plant trees that provide shade
  • Utilize Xeriscaping - Xeriscaping, often confused with “zero-scaping,” is a term derived from the Greek “xeros” meaning dry and the English “scape” meaning view. It is the practice of using slow growing plants that do not need a large amounts of water. This saves water and reduces yard trimmings.
  • Compost - Food and yard waste generally accounts for 23% of all waste that is dumped in landfills. By composting rather than throwing away food scraps we reduce our waste output and allow that food to continue in the natural cycle; it gives much needed nutrients to the soil and helps the soil retain water.
  • Use rainwater collection barrels - Perhaps ironically, rainwater collection barrels, which are considered part of a new “green” technology, can be traced back in origin at least 2000 with clay cisterns in Thailand. The fact is that many communities are using up their water faster than it is being replenished. Collecting rainwater can help reduce the amount we take from our aquifers and wells, which will help them to last longer. It can also help save money.  According to ranbarrelguide.com, a 1000 sf area can generate 600 gallons of water with just 1 inch of rain. In Monterey the average yearly rainfall is just over 18 inches, which means that a house or business that fully utilized rain barrel collection could potentially save nearly 11,000 gallons of water, which might otherwise simply flow into the storm drains and out into the oceans.
  • Use an electric or manual lawn mower - Gas powered lawn mowers are responsible for 5% of the nation’s air pollution according to the EPA. Every year Americans use 800 million gallons of gas to mow their lawns, 17 million of which ends up being spilled in the process of refueling mowers. An electric mower on the other hand, costs about $5 a year to operate, and even though its powered by fossil fuels, the pollution generated by power plants is still cleaner. Even better are reel mowers, which require neither electricity nor gasoline.
  • Use solar lighting - Solar lighting does not use any human produced energy after manufacturing, which means there are no monthly costs to use it. This also means that there are no emissions resulting from its use.

Environmentally-Friendly Boating

Green BoatingHelping reduce marine debris and litter
Marine debris is anything that inadvertently ends up in the marine environment. It get there directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned. No matter how it got there, it will have an impact on the environment. Living around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has it's benefits, but also its responsibilities. Great conservation efforts happen locally around the Monterey Bay through a variety of organizations. Read on for more resources about how you can enjoy the environment as well as protect it.

Most common types of marine debris - plastics, glass, metal, Styrofoam, and rubber, derelict fishing gear

Protect while you play

  • Conserve water. The more water you use the more water you send down the drain to be processed at sewage treatment facilities. This excess water can lead to sewer overflows and raw sewage discharges into streams, rivers and beach areas.
  • Use designated restrooms at beaches. This can help to decrease the amount of human waste that is washed into the ocean. Keep diapered children out of the water and dispose of diapers properly.
  • Properly dispose of pet waste. Bring bags to collect pet waste and throw it away in a trashcan. This helps decrease the amount of waste that is washed into streams, rivers and beaches when it rains.
  • Dispose of trash properly. Place all waste in a trashcan, not on the beach or in the water.
  • Use natural products in your yard. Whenever possible, minimize or eliminate the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides because they pollute the water.
  • Maintain your septic system, including the drain field. Follow manufacturer instructions regarding pumping and maintenance service. This prevents the discharge of raw sewage into storm drains, rivers, streams, and the ocean following heavy rainfall.
  • Properly dispose of boating waste. Empty portable toilet and sewage holding tanks into approved on-shore facilities. Maintain engines to minimize discharges of oil and gasoline

Do your part - Marine Debris is EVERYONE'S problem

  • Tip 1: Secure loads in your vehicles.
  • Tip 2: Report Litter.
  • Tip 3: Stop Litter before it starts. The most effective way to keep litter off the beaches and roadways is to not generate it in the first place. Say no to plastic bags and polystyrene. When at the beach, use the Pack-it-in, Pack-it-out rule and take all your waste with you.

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