Sunday, June 13, 2021

Excessive Heat Warning in Effect

I just asked Google the temperature for the umpteenth time. It's 4:47 p.m. Sunday. 110 degrees. There is currently an Excessive Heat Warning in effect! I'm having a moral crisis. The other day someone on Facebook advised that we all deep (slow) water our trees if we want them to survive the extreme heat this weekend. (I re-shared the post.) So I set about deep watering all of my trees - making sure to do it before it got to 80 degrees (the temperature when plants stop evapotranspiration.) I was up until 2 a.m. Friday night!

Today I read all these articles on our water issues and how the level of Lake Mead (where we store our CAP) is getting dangerously low. In Tucson, we are proud of our water conservation efforts. Tucsonans use 20% less than Phoenicians. But today I read, "Tim Steller's opinion: Shocking water news in Arizona, Tucson should lead to more action" 'Last year, 2020, marked the first year this century in which Tucson Water’s residential customers used significantly more water than the year before. We used 7.5% more water per capita in 2020 than in 2019.'  Anyone who has stepped outside knows the reason - it's friggin' hot out there!

While we try to conserve water where we can (carrying out our rinse water to the Mexican Honeysuckle, turning off the tap while brushing our teeth or washing our hair, taking less showers and using our laundry water), we are still a part of the problem! I just deep watered all of my trees and some other plants! I'm really torn! On the one hand, if we lose those trees - we lose all the water that has gone into establishing them. On the other hand - that's a lot of water (especially when you multiply it by every yard in Tucson!)

Fortunately, most of our trees are native, but we do have some so-called "drought tolerant" fruit trees that have been struggling in this heat. Are they really practical? Sure, we have a few rain barrels and a cistern. But how does that help if it doesn't rain? Maybe it's time to make some hard decisions. I've already stopped watering a fig that didn't take off after 3 years. Are our moringas next?

On the bright side, Dan's setting up our new solar oven.


Monsoon season dawns with record heat, slight chance of rain in Tucson

Tucson Clean and Beautiful (Trees for Tucson) has a presentation on how to care for trees in Tucson and how much water they need. Check it out!


  1. I'm a conservationist with a degree and I say, water your trees. The mayor has an initiative to plant 1000 trees. Well, what makes more sense...saving the ones we have or trying to establish new ones that take more water to establish? Our neighborhood has many mature trees, some dying now. The county needs to hold the corporate farms in check for over using the CAP water. That's the biggest problem.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Karen. I tend to agree. I worry that people will plant trees that will die with the mandatory water cutbacks in the coming year.

      I encourage everyone to get their native, low water trees in now. Also, put in rainwater harvesting basins and cistern to make that water go farther.

  2. In 2022, Dan installed two more cisterns so we made it through the summer without using any city water! And that included watering our little veggie garden.