Does your Rain Bird no longer fly? Are your PVC pipes feeling neglected? Has your city hung your lawn out to dry and given your timer a time-out? If so, you probably live in a place that restricts landscaping watering. Due to devastating dry spells, dozens of cities have implemented ordinances aimed at water conservation.
When I grew up in Atlanta, it was so rainy a fish could survive on land; but when I visited last year, I found straw-like lawns and a total watering ban. In Los Angeles, where I now reside, the City Council has implemented a partial ban: residents are restricted to two days per week for outdoor irrigation and no more than 15 minutes per watering station.
I understand the need to conserve and have always been a "waste not, water not" woman, whipping the faucet on and off while teeth cleaning as if water were pricey champagne. In my college dorm, I won the coveted "Snappy Shower Award," and I treat my dishwasher like a roller-coaster ride: it doesn't leave the station unless it's full.
However, when it comes to my yard, a middle ground is unachievable if it means a dead ground. My religion and moral value system require healthy greenery; which in turn, benefit the animals and insects who depend on my yard for sustenance. I live in a fire hazard zone in Woodland Hills--the most sweltering part of LA--where watering two days per week is as effective as healing third degree burns with a Band-aid and where dead foliage is an invitation for flames to "come up and see me sometime."
My lot--which abuts undeveloped acreage--may appear fully suburbanized, but it serves as an oasis for rabbits, bees, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, gophers, snakes, bees, owls, and birds of every kind. Saint Francis of Assisi would not want for feathered friends.
I am not a Christian like Assisi, but practice Jainism, which is often described as the world's oldest living religion, originating in India around 500 BC. Adherents follow the principal of "ahimsa" or non-injury to all living beings. Although practically-speaking it is impossible to be perfect, a Jain does her best to make sure no living being is injured by her action or inaction. Compassion is extended to mammals and reptiles as well as flowers, grass, insects and trees. As a Jain, I have a duty to protect the life forms on my property, and any ordinance which interferes with this is at odds with my First Amendment rights under the US Constitution.