LOS ANGELES — The driest January and February in recorded history is pushing California into a third year of a drought.

What You Need To Know

  • After the driest January and February in recorded history, this winter failed to provide much-needed relief to California’s drought, now in its third year

  • State reservoir levels remain far below average and continue dropping

  • This compelled the California Department of Water Resources to reduce the allocation of water Southern California will receive from the State Water Project to 5%

  • Californians can visit SaveOurWater.com and bewaterwise.com for easy and actionable water saving ideas and tips

While this news is gloomy, Evan Meyer believes there’s a door of opportunity.

“So we’ve got hummingbird sage babies right now. This is a drought tolerant and shade tolerant plant,” said Meyer, executive director at Theodore Payne Foundation, a nursery that grows and sells all kinds of native Southern California plants and conducts programs to educate people on the benefits of growing native plants.

California native plants such as hummingbird sage, lilac verbena and deer grass require 85% less water than grass because they’ve evolved here and are used to the climate, which involves drought.

“It’s inspiring to look at the drought through the eyes of the landscape, nature and biodiversity here and see how they can thrive with so little,” Meyer said.

Taking this knowledge, Meyer and the foundation encourage people to rebuild nature and save water by swapping out their traditional plants and lawns for native ones.

The foundation hosted a state and local water leaders’ press conference ahead of World Water Day to celebrate the precious resource and to ask people to conserve water, as the state’s reserves currently hold 46% of its full capacity. The State Water Project plans to cut its allocations to water agencies, such as the Metropolitan Water District, from 15% to 5%.

One of the people helping the district stretch its water supply is Krista Guerrero, a resource specialist from the Metropolitan Water District.

“We’re at the point where we’re getting so little of our allocation from our water sources that there are parts of our service area that could be restricted to health and safety water only. Just the water they need to flush their toilet, cook and clean with,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero recommends looking into how we use water and then figuring out a plan to reduce the amount we use with each task.

“It’s such small changes, it doesn’t seem like you’re saving a lot of water, but you are,” Guerrero said.

Back with Meyer, he says native plants can give the state a chance.

“This idea of gardening for the environment brings people together,” he said.

Meyer hopes it will bring the state together to control the drought and build a more resilient future.

For more information, visit saveourwater.com and bewaterwise.com.