Beyond Water Conservation- the American Riviera Model

What do you think about when you hear the term ‘water conservation’? Being responsible? Taking care of what you love? Discovering new ways to see and do things, to align with your environmental values? If so, good for you!

I am concerned that too many people feel constricted or restricted when they hear the term or try to live in a way that conserves water. It may conjure images of sacrifice, an obligation, and/or lack.  

Many people in our community want to live their values by changing the built environment, adapting to our natural water cycles, and safeguarding our local resources. Many of us are already doing this in a variety of ways.

Beyond water conservation- a way of living in which we use innovative water sources as much as practical, and embrace a sense of place - can support a lifestyle of aesthetics, abundance and adventure. This is what we teach about and model at Sweetwater.

Sweetwater’s expertise is in providing education, workshops, and trainings about these practices for sustainable water management.

Our collaborative promotes landscaping with native and drought tolerant vegetation, as well as edibles, and water uses that have evolved over the centuries in semiarid environments.

We’re talking about astonishingly beautiful gardens without using so very much of our water.

Santa Barbara is a unique location, one of the six areas of the world with a Mediterranean climate. We can enhance our sense of place and bring out the natural beauty of our region by landscaping with this in mind. Like the French and Italian Riviera, we can encourage landscaping styles with open sweeping spaces, grace, and beauty that are water wise, full of flowers, bees and butterflies. At Sweetwater, we call this the American Riviera model and it’s one of the gifts we’re bringing the community.

The American Riviera look is elegant, encourages relaxation, and is often breathtaking beautiful as well as water wise.

Once new and different sources of water are in place and plants have been established, saving water may become effortless.

Typically, 50% of our potable water in southern CA is used in the landscape. Greywater, rainwater, mechanical water (air conditioning condensate), and RO waste water can provide most or all of the irrigation required in our landscapes.