Water Wise Davis, a working group of Cool Davis, will host a fourth annual Greywater Showcase online via Zoom webinar on Wednesday, July 22, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. This year’s theme is the connection between greywater and growing your own healthy food.

Special guest Nina Gordon-Kirsch of Backyard Permaculture Guild and Greywater Action will speak about her experiences regenerating backyard landscapes for ecological well-being, food production, drought tolerance, and beauty, in particular, with veggie gardens, greywater systems, natural building, native plants, fruit trees, chickens, and more!

Dawn Calciano, City of Davis Conservation Coordinator, will give an update of water resources and conservation in Davis.

Leslie Crenna of EcoAssistant will present information about water reuse at the household level, the potential for greywater across our community, and the two basic types of greywater systems, plus a bit about growing artichokes in Davis with greywater.

Guest panelists will share their personal experiences growing healthy food with greywater and other topics such as creating a wetland with greywater and a new app that searches for greywater elements in general plans across the state of California. Q&A and discussions will follow presentations. Guests panelists include Catherine Brinkley, UC Davis Assistant Professor of Community and Regional Development and Paul Havemann, Steward for Stebbins Cold Canyon with the UC Davis John Muir Institute.

After hearing the presentations and discussions, participants will be asked: Are you a good candidate for greywater? Throw your virtual ticket into the jar to win a FREE professional consultation and 1 of 2 laundry to landscape parts kits ($75 value for parts; professional consultation varies).

This event is FREE!

Register for the webinar today!

Two laundry greywater system parts kits will be given away to participants who are good candidates for a home system — a $75 value each! Each kit comes with a complimentary professional consultation!

Greywater in California

In California, greywater is defined as water collected from washing machines, sinks (excluding the kitchen sink), showers, and bathtubs that can be used for landscape irrigation. Greywater systems may help reduce household water usage especially in summer by reducing the use of potable water for outdoor irrigation. City and state level code and ordinance uses a different spelling: “graywater.”

The easiest and permit free system is a “laundry to landscape” system that directs drainage water from your clothes washing machine to your landscape. The next level requires a bit more commitment of time and resources: a “branched drain” system directs drainage water from showers, bathroom sinks, and tubs to your landscape and requires a permit. Hopefully, indoor reuse systems will also be represented at the showcase.

Check out these householder resources compiled by Water Wise Davis members:

Speaker Biographies

Nina Gordon-Kirsch is a Berkeley native and outdoor enthusiast. She earned her B.Sc. in Environmental Science and Marketing and then received a Fulbright Scholarship to study water recycling in Israel. She went on to pursue her M.Sc. in Palestinian water recycling and returned home to the Bay Area to start practicing local water reuse.

She took her Permaculture Design Course at Occidental Arts and Ecology center, after which she envisioned the Backyard Permaculture Guild. She also apprenticed with Greywater Action in Oakland for 3 years before becoming trained as a professional greywater installer. Her expertise is in laundry-to-landscape (L2L) systems.

The Backyard Permaculture Guild website advises visitors to plant a pandemic resiliency garden: “Since the impact of coronavirus there has been a sudden upsurge of interest in backyard gardening for food production—seeds are sold out everywhere, gardening forums are full of questions. We’ve been planting backyard food gardens for years and are passionate about helping people to become self-reliant. We understand this is a tenuous time and also see this interest as a silver lining of these times. Gardens are places of resilience in all ways—it brings hope to see things grow and they provide some of the most nutritious food you could eat. We would love to help you create a resilient, abundant pandemic garden in your home.”

Dawn Calciano is a Conservation Coordinator with the City of Davis Environmental Resources Division. Her primary focus is on water conservation although she assists with other environmental resources programs. Prior to working for the City of Davis, Dawn worked as a Water Conservation Coordinator for the City of Woodland.

Leslie Crenna wears her Water Wise Davis and EcoAssistant hats at the Greywater Showcase. She is experienced in a wide range of “living lightly” strategies including rainwater catchment, greywater, composting, vermiculture, and sheet mulching for lawn replacement. She led a school-based sustainable community garden in the Sierra Foothills before arriving in Davis. She is a certified multiple subjects teacher and a lifelong writer, editor, and family historian. She has participated in trainings with Blue Barrel Systems, the American Rainwater Capture Systems Association, and integrated water design with GrowWater. She is a Level 2 Certified Greywater Designer and Installer through Greywater Action. Leslie is also Communications Manager with Cool Davis.

Dr. Catherine Brinkley is a Professor at the University of California, Davis, in Community and Regional Development. She is a veterinarian and an urban planner. Her research centers on planning healthy food systems around One Health, a concept that considers health shared among humans, animals and the environment. Her work is used internationally by the United National Food Agriculture Organization as well as local communities to guide plans and policies. Most recently, she worked in Davis on the Downtown Plan and community-driven Food and Economic Development Plan.

Her most recent works include

Greywater Showcase program

5:30pm Erin Reddy, Cool Davis Campaign Manager: Welcome, self-introduction, overview of program, rules of engagement, and opening speaker biographies.

5:35pm Nina Gordon-Kirsch Opening remarks on growing healthy food using greywater as a resiliency strategy during the pandemic and into the future.

5:45pm Dawn Calciano Status of water resources and conservation in Davis.

5:55pm Leslie Crenna Presentation on basics of greywater (water reuse, potential for our community, and the two types of systems)

6:25pm Basics Presentation Q&A and discussion


6:35pm Panel theme: Growing healthy food with greywater (Moderated by Erin Reddy: Panelist introductions, biographies)

6:35pm Panelist statements (8 minutes each):

  • Nina Gordon-Kirsch (short re-cap) (plethora of garden grown goodies)
  • Catherine Brinkley, UC Davis (figs and plum tree)

7:00pm Panel Q&A and discussion

7:15pm Raffle: Are you a good candidate for greywater? (Leslie Crenna) Throw your virtual ticket into the jar for a FREE professional consultation and 1 of 2 laundry to landscape parts kits.

7:25pm Final wrap up by Erin Reddy: Please do final evaluation poll.

7:30pm End

Register for the webinar today!

For more information, email Leslie Crenna at lesliecrenna@gmail.com. Water Wise Davis supports wise water policy, and water conservation, reuse, and capture in the City of Davis and is a working group of Cool Davis. This event is supported by the City of Davis.