It seems as if Livermore residents are embracing dry, yellow lawns in order to save water this summer. Driving around town, I see that people's participation in the water-saving cutbacks range from completely dead lawns, to patches of yellow.

Our water bill e-mail comes with a nice chart showing water usage by month from this year and last. Last June, If I am doing the math correctly on conversion from cubic feet to gallons, we used more than 18,000 gallons of water. This number seems ridiculously high. I am trying to picture 18,000-gallon jugs of water. I can't believe we used this much, but we do have large front and back yard lawns. This June we used 8,228 gallons of water.

Average annual water usage per household is 92,693 gallons according to a 2005 U.S. Geological Survey water census. Average daily use was 254 gallons, with only 98 gallons coming from indoor use. The USGS estimates a shower uses 2-2.5 gallons per minute.

This drought has taught a lot of people to conserve water so maybe it will help the environment and save us all some money in the long run. Considering how fertilizer runoff pollutes the oceans, there may be some other good benefits to people rethinking their landscaping as well as helping save water that is sorely needed in agriculture to grow our food.

I have decided to remove a portion of my lawn that is never used and put in some less water-hungry plants. Dry lawns hurt property values and look bad. So, maybe a more permanent solution is in order.

My wife is pushing for fake grass, but I'm not ready to get rid of all my real grass yet. Regardless of whether this drought causes any lasting changes in people's water use habits, it's interesting to see a huge portion of Livermore respond so quickly to the call for conservation.

At summer's end, I will ask city officials how Livermore stacked up against neighboring cities on cutting back water use.

Music in the Orchard: Delaney Newton, a 3-year-old Livermore girl with brain cancer was declared cancer-free in June by her doctors. I have written about her story multiple times here and how Livermore residents have rallied around her and her family. But her long road to recovery is not over. For instance, because she has had a feeding tube for so long, once doctors removed it, she was unable to eat enough to maintain her weight and they had to put the tube back in. Helping Delaney gain back strength and health will be a long road.

To donate to help in her continued recovery, visit http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/team-delaney/92222, or visit the Team Delaney Facebook page for updates and fundraisers.

Two fundraisers in July and August will be held at the Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa in Livermore. The Music in the Orchard Summer Benefit Concert Series will feature local musicians and will benefit Team Delaney and the Pedrozzi Scholarship Foundation, which gives scholarships to Livermore high school students.

Organizers recommend that people bring a blanket or lawn chair and relax under the olive trees at the resort at 4549 Cross Road. On July 31, from 6 to 9 p.m., Ten Tuesdays, a local band covering songs from the 1970s to current hits, will perform.

On Aug. 28 frm 6 to 9 p.m., Crawdad Republic, a bluegrass quartet from Livermore, will perform.

For tickets and more information, visit www.purpleorchid.com. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. You can buy them at Nottingham Cellars, 2245 S. Vasco Road and Altamont Beer Works, 2402 Research Road, Livermore. Wine, beer and pizza will be sold.

Jazz in July: The Livermore Library is holding jazz-related events this month. On Sunday at 2 p.m. the Dmitri Matheny group will perform at the Civic Center Library. Admission is free.

Times 4 will appear at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 13. Guitarist and composer Lee Waterman's Latin jazz ensemble, Jazz Caliente will perform at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 20. Capping the series at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 27 will be a performance by Mimi Fox.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@bayareanewsgroup.com.