Thursday, June 05, 2008

Rational Water Rationing

Today the Governator declared that California is now officially in a state of drought.

Thanks, Arnold. Glad to know that now most of my fellow Californians may now be trying to conserve water like I have been doing for the last month.

Last month my water utility put all of its customers on water rationing.

Single-family households are rationed to 100 gallons per day.

When this news came I looked at our last bill to see how much water we have been using: 187 gallons per day!


How to cut 87 gallons from each day's usage?

1. Lawn. Stop watering lawn twice a week. Water only once a week and only the part in the front of the house. Let back lawn die. (I'm all for not watering the lawn, but my parents own the property and have asked that we try to keep at least the front lawn alive. I felt it was best to agree to this.)

2. Doing Dishes. We have no dishwasher and so do dishes by hand. This task is now done with two basins instead of one; I no longer feel that my dishes are getting really clean. Left-over water is carried out to back lawn and dumped there. Not sure if this is helping or hurting the back lawn.

3. Waiting for water to get hot. Either buck up and wash in cold water or, when washing hands or face, capture all cold water in a small bowl, then pour into gallon jugs. On average it takes a gallon and a half of water (!) before the water gets warm enough to wash with. This excess water is used to water the vegetable garden.

4. Streamline showers and save all the water. Plug tub, turn on water. While standing outside the tub, waiting for water to get warm, get hair wet with the hand-held shower head. When water is warm, step in, get rest of body wet. Turn off water. Shampoo, lather, soap up. Turn water on. Rinse hair and body. Turn water off. Conditioner. Turn water on. Rinse. Turn water off. Wash face and anything else that needs washing that you may have missed. Try to not be grossed out by the water that has now reached your ankles (this is the day's second shower, husband having showered earlier). Turn water on. Final rinse. Turn water off. Get out of shower. Taking a shower using this method must use less water, though it does not seem to take any less time. Also, only shower every other with stinkiness.

5. The toilet. If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down. And when it is brown, scoop shower water into large pot (3 gallons?), remove lid from toilet, flush. Pour shower water into tank to keep tank from filling with fresh water. Curiously, the water from the showers has proven to be exactly the amount of water needed for toilet-flushing.

Result? Hopefully all this effort will cut the excess 87 gallons per day. But since our water utility bills us only three times a year, there is no way to know if our efforts are working. Frustrating. It is hard to sustain these efforts when I do not even know if they are making a difference. Hear that, EBMUD! I need feedback if you want me to keep this up! Otherwise I might just go back to flushing the toilet and showering with the tub unplugged!

The other result is that my bathroom has gallon jugs and a huge ole pot of water on its floor. Which makes using the bathroom hard as this room is narrow. Also, lots of puddles. And we must always keep the door shut, otherwise Large S will speed on into the bathroom and play in the big pot of wateror, if you have left the pot full of water on the toilet seat or on the stool, Large S may push it off. Flooding the bathroom and soaking himself. Or drowning. Great.

Plus, dead lawn.


Blogger FoxyJ said...

Um, wow. I guess that's something to look forward to when we move down there later this summer. I'm all for flushing the toilet occasionally, but the fact that small children like to play in there is definitely a problem. Maybe you should teach the Big O to water the lawn instead...

Friday, June 06, 2008 7:41:00 AM  
Blogger Lady Steed said...

Yes, get ready to conserve!

That is another reason why the bathroom door must ALWAYS be shut.However, I have never had a problem with my kids playing in the toilet. The Big O never did that and hopefully such an idea will never occur to Large S since he's not allowed into he bathroom.

Last summer the Big O did 'water' the lawn a few times--something he learned from a cousin, much to my horror.

Friday, June 06, 2008 9:25:00 AM  
Blogger Cricket said...

check this out:

Friday, June 06, 2008 1:35:00 PM  
Blogger Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

WOW! Those are some major changes.

When I followed the link, it seemed like they expected single family homes to use up to 172 gal./day before they charged the $2 surcharge.

If you stay under 100 gallons you don't have any change in price. The 100-172 gallons get the "drought price" and then over 172 you get the drought price +the $2 surcharge. Am I reading the thing wrong, though?

If I am reading it correctly, I would have to ask myself if it's worth the projected $4/mo. saved.

As for the lawn, we only water once a week because of our own water rationing here, and our lawn's doing ok. I would totally water, though, because it seems like replacing sod or re-landscaping would be more expensive in the long run.

Sunday, June 08, 2008 7:26:00 PM  

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