It is gratifying to see such concern for saving water during these years of drought. It is also evident that I am in hot water with some readers!
Although my 480 gallons a day sounds like a lot, I must point out that I use well below the average. According to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, each person uses 110 gallons every day at home. Since there are five persons in my family, 110 x 5 = 550. The average home in Los Angeles, which houses less than five people, uses 450 gallons a day.
Our last DWP bill said, "Thank you. You have attained your water conservation goal last period" so we are doing our part. My children are taking shorter showers and we have let parts of the garden go dry this summer. Our cars are filthy and we use a broom to clean up outdoors. There is a bucket in the bathtub.
However, I do not intend to let the garden die, and neither should others. Water is not petroleum. It is a renewable resource and although we will never again have as much water as we did during the past few decades, thanks to a burgeoning population, we will have adequate water for gardens, and gardens are perhaps the best of all uses for water. The plants our precious water keeps alive clean our air and are host to thousands of nature's creatures. In a big city like Los Angeles, plants are very important inhabitants.
As for the suggestion that we replant the garden to drought resistant species, that is not a good idea because starting off any new plant in a garden requires more water than simply keeping the existing plants alive.
When the rains return is the time to decide if you want to plant a more drought-resistant palette, but remember that most drought-resistant plants are nearly dormant during summer, when we need their air cleaning and air conditioning abilities most.