Our valley receives on average about 9 inches of rain a year, 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:
Drought Tolerant Plants: Drip irrigation systems direct calibrated amounts of water to individual plants.
“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.
Waste Treatment: An on-site waste treatment facility captures gray water for the drip irrigation system.
A biological marsh captures the treated gray water, 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.
Guest room showers and toilets use “low flow” water conservation technology.
Several of our public facilities have composting toilets and/or waterless urinals. More are planned.
Building Materials: 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.
Swimming Pools: 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.
Water Bottles: Guests are encouraged to bring their own refillable water bottles. Filtration systems eliminate the use of commercially bottled water at Rancho La Puerta.
Cleaning: 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.
Laundry facilities for guest use feature water-efficient Energy Star certified washers.
Well Water: 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.