Water diary

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Water diary

Postby chiggerbit » Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:13 pm

I just saw nomo's post on the general board about the jet stream moving north, and how that will most likely end up affecting the precip, etc. as it moves.

http://rigorousintuition.ca/board/viewtopic.php?t=17268

So, to make the possibility of drastic change more real to me, I'm going to try a few days without running water. Hmmm, maybe I will even heat my water on the stove. I will get my water from the pond or from roof run-off. But...I will buy bottled water for drinking and cooking. I think I'll just edit on this post as I go.

edit: I'm not going to edit to update. Feel free to comment.
Last edited by chiggerbit on Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby chiggerbit » Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:26 am

Aug 20:

Scrounged up a couple of buckets-one 6 gallon and another smaller, maybe four or five gallon- and a garbage can to put under the eave of the roof. I don't have gutters, but I do have four roof valleys(?) which will collect rain quite quickly....if it rains. I can see I will need more garbage cans, one for each valley. I managed to get a bucket of rainwater in time, but didn't get the garbage can in place in time before it stopped raining. The roof water looks quite clean, even if there might be bird droppings in it. The pond water doesn't look so clean. I can see that I won't want to wash my whites in the pond water. Great choice--cleaner water with diseased bird droppings or dirtier water with farm chemicals.

I have begun.

Since I kept constantly forgetting and turning on a faucet to wash my hands, etc., I put socks on the handles to remind myself to not use them. Put a bowl of water by the sink with a couple drops of liquid soap and a few drops of bleach, for hand washing.

Scheeze, I am sorely regretting colluding with the plumber when I had the house built in putting in the toilet that uses 3 gallons of water per flush. I get barely two flushes of water per 6 gal bucket. So, since I have to work so hard to get the water from the pond to the house, I don't flush every time.

Being lazy and impatient, I tried washing my hair this morning, so washed it in cold water using the roof water, leaning over the tub and pouring as little water as is necessary to wet it and rinse it. Cold works fine. Hair looks quite clean when dry. But, I can see that I'm going to have to organize better, make sure I boil enough water for "bathing" and and other uses of water that do better with hot water.
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Postby chiggerbit » Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:50 pm

Aug 21

Yummm, first heated sponge bath. Went with the roof run-off rather than the pond water. Back maybe a year or two after I had the pond closest to the house built, I spent a lot of time floating on an air mattress in it, as it was a terribly hot summer for this area, had gotten up as high as 107 degrees. Floating on the pond was wonderful, the pond water as warm as bath water, with water lilies and cattails all around the pond, dragonflies flitting around me, and fish swimming casually under my mattress. I was even able to float up behind a big bullfrog that was facing away from me and I goosed him--he yelped and literally leaped several long leaps away from me over the top of the water. But late that summer is when I noticed the unremitting tinnitus for the first time. I'm still suspicious that it's a result of nerve damage from all the farm chemicals that drain into the pond from the field across the road. So, I hesitate to use that water for other than flushing the toilet. Anyway, I figure a couple of drops of bleach and boiling will kill off any buggies in the roof water, even bird flu ones, I hope. Of course, I should give a thought to the fiberglass of the shingles, and the need to filter it through cloth. Hmmmm. The roof water does put me at the mercy of rainfall.

Man, when you have to be this conscious of how much water you're using, you learn to get really efficient about how it's used. Re-using water is one of those ways, which is why I saved the rinse water from shampooing my hair to be used for sponge bathing following the shampoo. Then I used the leftover bathing water to scrub a mess on the floor that one of the dogs made. Cripes, even when I make coffee using bottled water, I'm more careful about how much I use, and I re-heat the left-over coffee the next morning if I make too much.

I'm not sure why, but this doesn't feel quite the same as camping out. Maybe it's because it's more real, being where I live.

Forcast says the possibility of rain tonight and tomorrow, so I must clean and sanitize the garbage cans. The pond water should do for that, though. Wish I had a cistern, like the old houses around here have. I've certainly come to have a new appreciation for the many uses of containers such as buckets and garbage cans.
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Postby chiggerbit » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:16 pm

A six-gallon bucket of water feels like so very much water, but it has become clear what a little bit it is in my daily average use. I found this cool water use calculator. Try it out:

http://www.owasa.org/pages/WaterCalculator.html
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Postby chiggerbit » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:32 pm

Whew, glad to know this:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/08 ... r_vs_h.php

We recently covered a tip on dishwasher efficiency, but may have left you still feeling guilty or at least wondering about whether you should be pampering yourself with this labor-saving appliance. Now, thanks to a scientific study at the University of Bonn in Germany, you can have your cake and eat it too-relaxed in the knowledge that the cleaning up with your trusted machine will be a piece of cake and the eco-friendly thing to do...

The Bonn study proves that the dishwasher uses only half the energy and one-sixth of the water, less soap too. Even the most sparing and careful washers could not beat the modern dishwasher. The study also rated the cleanliness achieved, again in favor of the washing machine (sorry grandma). There have been studies before, but this is one of the few that stands (wo)man against machine and it sets itself apart by including a thorough analysis of the effect of half-loads and the whole demand range from your cake plate to the grimiest pots. Surf to research under household technology at U. Bonn's site for more. :: U. Bonn Household Technology
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Postby chiggerbit » Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:22 pm

Note to self: Don't do sponge bath until end of day, particularly not until after doing landscaping project.

edit additional note to self: Make sure tube I squeeze conditoner out of isn't hand cream instead of conditioner. Oh, well.
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Postby chiggerbit » Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:49 pm

April 22, Earth Day

Well, got next to nothing as far as rainwater run-off. It didn't rain very hard, and I had placed the garbage cans wrong, more suited to fast run-off, not dribble. That's ok. I discovered that my riding mower trailer was full of rain water from the last few rains, even better than roof run-off--less bird droppings, I think. But can you imagine if this were late summer when it hardly rains?

I used yesterday's sponge bath left-overs for washing a few clothing items. I have to say that I would detest having to do this for all laundry. Flannel sheets?? EEEEEk! Oh, well, time to go to regular sheets, anyway, as it's finally warmed up. As for clothes suited for civil society, it would seem to be a choice between wringing most of the water out and having big wrinkles, or not wringing and having fewer wrinkles, but taking forever to dry. Hygiene seems to go by the wayside, reduced to the absolute necessary for health safety. I wear clothes way more times than I usually do between washing. Clean jammies for tonight, though, finally.

I remember an antique contraption a relative inherited from the other side of their family, a wooden "washer", of sorts. I do remember that it had a set-up that had what reminded me of a wooden clothes drying rack with a handle that was used to manually agitate the clothes while washing. Wish I had a picture of it. Old tools fascinate me. Wish I had it now. The old wringer washing machines are looking pretty good now, too.
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Postby chiggerbit » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:58 pm

Aug 23

Well, having done this for four days now, at a guess, I would say that in the normal routine, my biggest water use is for the toilet, believe it or not. That being so, it is clear that the most logical answer to having enough water to flush the toilet in times of limited rainfall and drought is to use none, or practically none--by doing it the humanure way (check out Annie's thread about this in an earlier post for details). Using water to flush waste away is simply a transportation method, a means of getting waste from here to there. Seems like a kind of silly use of an important resource. The humanure way doesn't require water for transportation, just a little water to clean the bucket when it's finally emptied. The transportation is people-powered right out to the compost bin, and the waste is soon put to good use, instead of being ~ahem~ wasted. When you think about the amount of toxic chemicals that are being spread on ag land nowadays, chemicals that kill the living soil and turn it into a simple, dead hydroponic medium, humanure begins to appear more attractive.

I'm finally giving it some real thought. I'm still not sure that it could be done in a safe manner on a large scale, in a compact community, but who knows? There may be all sort of ways around that problem. But I could get by with it here where I live, if I wanted to.
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Postby chiggerbit » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:27 pm

Rainwater must be a lot softer than regular water. I have to rinse a lot more to get beyond the soapy feel.
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Postby chiggerbit » Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:30 pm

April 24

Well, my "few days" continues. I was going to quit if it didn't rain enough to get me some cleaner water than I get from the pond. It rained-- well it rained very lightly for several hours, and I surprisingly got 3 full garbage cans, so I will continue, but on a limited basis. In other words, I will use my water efficient washer to do some laundry, finally. I suspect that I will use less water with the washer than I would have by hand, and the result will be more socially acceptable.

Two thoughts have been rattling through my somewhat empty head today: storage containers and drinking water. I can't say enough for the merits of storage containers after this experience. From canning jars to TupperWare to garbage cans to kiddie swimming pools to cisterns and wells:They're all containers, really, and all useful and many even necessary in any kind of an emergency. The kind of emergency determines what kind of container is necessary or useful. I can think of two classes of emergency: the kind that requires a person/family to stay put, and the kind that requires travel. I'm thinking today of the kind that requires one to stay put. It never occurred to me how useful garbage cans are. Not only useful, but easy to store themselves when not in use, as they are stackable. And cheap. I highly recommend having a stock of them on hand, with lids. And not just for water, either.

Water. Drinking water. I would have to be in very dire circumstances to drink any of this water, and I won't do it for this diary. Really, what good would it do if you have all sorts of "drinking" water but it makes you so sick that it kills you? The pond has farm chemicals and the roof run-off has impurities, like bird doo and fiberglass and accumulated dirt since the last rain. However, if I were really desperate, I would have the means on hand to come up with drinkable water, with the addition of a little bleach. I am always doing some landscape project, and I detest weeding and I detest woven landscape fabric, useless product that it is. So, I keep on hand this heavy-duty plastic that can be purchased in the paint supply section or the landscape section of many building supply stores. Mine is the 20x100 size, and is heavy duty. The perfect solution to my problem. I forgot that I do have one gutter on one side of my garage. I would simply lay that plastic out on my roof, secure it with 2x4's and nails, the 2x4's acting as a channel, with garbage cans, of course, to collect the run-off. Problem solved. Well, unless someone reading this knows why it wouldn't work.

Why are none of you commenting here?
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Postby chiggerbit » Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:33 pm

April 25

Ok, ok, I give up!! I can't stand it. I've been out in the woods looking for morels, and am now crawling in ticks. The best way to deal with so many is to take a long HOT bath, so that the ones that haven't attached themselves just float to the surface. I HAVE to have a real bath. I'm finished.
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Postby chiggerbit » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:37 am

Uh, Arnold, may I make some suggestions?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2008/ ... drough.php

Jun 05, 2008 05:52 EST

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a statewide drought after two years of below-average rainfall, low snowmelt runoff and a court-ordered restriction on water transfers.

Schwarzenegger warned that residents and water managers must immediately cut their water use or face the possibility of rationing next year if there is another dry winter.

"We must recognize the severity of the crisis that we face," the Republican governor said Wednesday at a news conference.

He signed an executive order directing the state's response to unusually dry conditions that are damaging crops, harming water quality and causing extreme fire danger across California. Many communities already require water conservation or rationing.

The statewide drought declaration is the first since 1991, when Gov. Pete Wilson acted in the fifth year of a drought that lasted into 1992.

Schwarzenegger directed the state Department of Water Resources to help speed water transfers to areas with the worst shortages, to help local water districts with conservation efforts and to assist farmers suffering losses from the drought.

California depends on winter snow accumulating in the Sierra Nevada for much of its summer water supply. But March, April and May were the driest winter months on record, forcing water use cutbacks by farmers and urban residents alike.

The Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nev., reported that precipitation in California during that period was 1.2 inches, or 22 percent of the average for the 114 years since record-keeping began.

Snow measurements last month found that the Sierra held just 69 percent of an average winter. Runoff into California rivers was at 55 percent of a normal year. The state's major reservoirs are at 50 percent to 63 percent of their capacity at a time when they ideally would be full.

Conditions could be even worse next year if there is another dry winter, Water Resources Director Lester Snow said.

"We need at least above normal in terms of our snowpack, and then we're still going to be tight," Snow said. "The idea is to put programs in place now to soften the impact in 2008 and to prepare for a potential third year of drought in 2009."

California's population has mushroomed since the last drought, while the water supply has dwindled, he said.

An eight-year drought in the Southwest means California can't depend on Colorado River water to help supply Southern California. And a federal judge's order last year requires that more Northern California water be left in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to aid declining fish populations.

"We're suffering the perfect storm, if you will," said Timothy Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. "The purpose of the governor's declaration is to send a wake-up call."

California has never resorted to statewide rationing during droughts, Quinn said.

Worst-hit so far is the San Joaquin Valley, which could soon merit an emergency declaration because of crop damage, Snow said.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said this week it would cut water supplied to Central Valley farms to 40 percent of the amount growers contract for with the federal government. Water deliveries from state reservoirs could drop to 35 percent, Snow said.

That could mean hundreds of acres of crops won't be planted this year, according to the giant Westlands Water District, which supplies growers who produce about $1 billion worth of crops annually.

The state is exploring ways to send scarce water to farmers for the growing season now while cutting deliveries later, Snow said.

"Giving water to the farmers in September doesn't help the fact that they need it on their tomato crop in June," Snow said. "It's not just the tomato crop that you lose. It's the employment that's associated with the tomato crop."

Schwarzenegger used the drought declaration to push a nearly $12 billion bond to fund delta, river and groundwater improvements, conservation and recycling efforts, and reservoirs. Legislators have not agreed to his plan.

"It is easy for Sacramento to put off dealing with the water infrastructure," Schwarzenegger said. "But as we now see, there is no more time to waste, because nothing is more vital than to protect our economy, to protect our environment, and to protect of quality of life."
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Postby chiggerbit » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:41 am

I should add that it really irks me to see ads here in Iowa promoting milk from happy California cows. :x
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