Several recent walks through our property is bringing the reality of Oregon’s drought close to home. Our pond seasonally fills from rain water and is spring fed to provide a water source for much of our mountain’s wildlife year-round. This fall we have seen an unusual increase in cougars and bear which I assume has resulted from displaced animals affected by the Taylor Creek fire. Usually our pond is full and overflowing by October 31st. As of today, however, it is very low and Britton Creek, which runs through our property remains dry. While very concerned about the upcoming summer’s crop, I am thankful to use water conserving strategies, like drip irrigation and rain water capture to protect this essential natural resource. Drip irrigation is labor intensive to install but delivers water directly to the plant intended to grow and at a rate that can be controlled. It eliminates tremendous water loss that naturally occurs through evaporation with overhead irrigation, reduces potential growth of fungal pathogens, and allows irrigation to vary from one row to the next to meet different plant needs. I was pleasantly surprised to realize in 2018 that I only needed to water twice a week for a successful harvest. It was interesting to test the limits of what the plants could endure and discover that they really didn’t need daily irrigation. I challenge you to think about how you can reduce your water consumption. Set yourself a 2019 goal for small, medium and large impact on conserving water.