Pala’s Drinking Water Quality

Every year, the Pala Environmental Department is required to release a report on the quality of Pala’s drinking water. We are happy to share this year’s report with you, which you should also be receiving in the mail if you are a Pala resident. Click on the link to 2014 Pala CCR or on the images below to view the report. If you have any questions, you can contact our Water Quality Specialist, Heidi Brow.

2014 Pala CCR

2014 Pala CCR_Page_1

2014 Pala CCR_Page_2


Xeriscape Your Landscape!

Spring is here, signaling for most people that it’s time to start your gardens.   As California enters its fourth straight year of severe drought, we should all think about landscaping with low water use plants, instead of water-hogs (like grass & tropical plants).

Xeriscape is the name for a type of landscaping done in arid regions, like southern California, that uses little to no water for irrigation.  These types of landscapes also require far less maintenance than most gardens, making them very easy to maintain.  They usually attract all kinds of beautiful wildlife, such as butterflies and hummingbirds, with their bright-colored flowers and wonderful scents.  The reward of installing these types of gardens is being able to sit and relax in them during those long summer evenings, when the breeze moves through the trees and the hummingbirds flicker from plant to plant.

These xeriscape tips will help you plan your low-water garden:

  • Planning & Design: make sure you include plants/trees of varying sizes and textures, as well as rocks or stepping stones to add interest, and mulch the rest. Trees planted on east & west-facing spots can protect your house from the hottest parts of the day (allowing you to use less energy on air conditioning).
  • Best Plants to Use: native plants or low-water use plants from regions with an arid Mediterranean climate like ours will do best in Pala. There are so many different types of plants (not just cactus!) that are different sizes, colors, textures, and heights that you will have no problem filling your garden with beautiful plants. PED has lists of native plants, plants that hummingbirds/butterflies love, plants that stand up to fire really well, and more.
  • Turf/Lawns: we recommend getting rid of as much of your lawn or turf as you can, since lawn and turf grasses require a huge amount of water. Consider replacing it with groundcovers or mulch.
  • Efficient Irrigation: use separate irrigation for turf and the rest of your plants. Turf should use sprinklers, making sure the water only waters the lawn (not the sidewalk). Trees, bushes, flowers, and ground-cover should be irrigated with drip irrigation or bubblers, watering only where the plant actually is.  This reduces your overall water use.
  • Mulch: mulch helps control weeds & keeps moisture in the ground, instead of evaporating, so you can water less. The Pala Transfer Station sells mulch, so you don’t even have to go far to pick some up.
  • Maintenance: maintenance should be easier & cheaper with these types of gardens. Once the plants are in & your drip irrigation system is automated, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy it.

If you’re curious to learn more, or want some help with design questions, please stop into our Pala Environmental Department office at the Tribal Administration Building, or see us at our booth during Cupa Days on May 2.  Happy Gardening!

Facing the Drought Emergency

California is facing one of the worst drought seasons in recorded history, and with climate change and all of our thirsty lawns, it is only going to get worse. On January 17th, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency for the entire state, and requested that everyone voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 20 percent. Last year was the driest year ever recorded for the San Diego area, and 2014 is looking to follow this record, in spite of our recent rain storm.

Here in Pala, we are lucky enough to get our drinking water from a large aquifer (groundwater) underneath our feet, instead of importing the water from northern California or the Colorado River. However, our aquifer is reliant on water flowing in the San Luis Rey River and storm water runoff to replenish this water source. This means that Pala has a cleaner water source, and we are independent from some of the cut-backs that imported water sources will face. It also means that we are very susceptible to future impacts from climate change, as well as over-pumping of that groundwater from both on and off reservation sources.

The Pala Tribe is trying to do their part to conserve this vital resource, including recycling our treated wastewater and allowing it to replenish our groundwater source and removing some of the water-heavy grass lawns and planting beautiful native, low-water use gardens in tribal areas (ie: Pala Administration, Blacktooth House, Calac Adobe). The Pala Environmental Department is working on developing a native, low-water use garden next to the Pala Transfer Station, which will be open to the community and serve as an example of the types of plants that would be appropriate to plant in our arid region.

Here are some water conservation tips that you can practice at home:

  • Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth
  • Make sure you have a full dishwasher/laundry load before running it
  • Make sure all of your appliances have the EPA Water Sense Label (low-water use)
  • Fix all of your leaky faucets
  • Don’t hose off your sidewalks & driveways – use a broom instead
  • Only water your lawn early in the morning, and let it run for shorter intervals
  • Use drip-irrigation, or other water efficient irrigation
  • Never let water run-off of your lawn/garden….if it does, you are overwatering your plants
  • Remove grass (uses a TON of water) & plant native, low-water use plants
  • If you do want grass, plant: Buffalo grass, Hybrid bermuda grass, Zoysia grass
  • Use mulch – this helps your garden retain water, so you can water less
  • Install a rain barrel to help water your plants

Contact the Pala Environmental Department if you would like to know more about water conservation.