Tag: Water Savings

California Drought

The picture on the left is typical of what was going on in California during the four-year-long California drought. It will last at least another year since the snowpack in the mountains is way down again this winter. How much longer the drought will last beyond next year has yet to be determined. The shortage is severe since most reservoirs are down significantly. They have less than a year’s worth of water left in them to provide water to cities, farms, and homeowners across the state. If they do not get water soon, serious water restrictions will be put in place. They need to conserve even this limited amount of water that is left.

Fast forward three years to 2023. The drought is over, and the reservoirs are full. Water shortages will come again. Californians can take steps now to protect themselves in the future.

California Drought – Steps to Take

Many people in California are not taking the threat seriously. They continue to water lawns, wash cars, and wastewater as if there is no problem. It is time to wake up since California is considering reducing property watering to twice a week, along with many other restrictions.

In desert communities, twice a week watering will cause many lawns to die off, and most trees that have been planted will also wither and die. All those beautiful palm trees will also die since they take copious amounts of water. Many residents and visitors do not realize that each palm tree must be watered unless it is watered by an underground spring, of which there are few.

Here are some of the things you can do to reduce water usage.

  • Use water-efficient taps and shower heads
  • Convert old toilets to water-efficient toilets
  • Wash cars once a week and use a pail rather than a hose
  • Repair all sprinkler systems, especially those that spray water on roads and sidewalks
  • Convert to a desert landscape

There are likely many more things that can be done to conserve water. Look at your situation and apply water reduction techniques. It will help your wallet as well.

Drought in California

We are snow birds who have been visiting California for the past several years usually in the Jan to April time period. There is much to learn about the drought in California. We have also learned the steps that California is taking to curtail water use to ensure that there will be enough water to last through this drought. It is in its fourth year with no end in site at the present time. One measure is the depth of the snow pack in the mountains, which once again is lacking and will not provide enough water for the coming year. California already knows that the drought will go on for at least another year.

Drought in California – Desert

We are in southern California in a beautiful spot in the desert. We are continually amazed at how much water is used here for irrigation, fountains. Also all of the regular daily uses of water that seem to be in conflict with the drought and water restrictions. Even the condo property we are staying at is having lot’s of debate with regard to what they should do  with regards to their water use. There are over 100 golf courses in the valley and all are watered daily, many several times a day. There are many gated communities with lots of lawns and gardens, water falls at the entrances and so on. We do not perceive a  reduction in water usage as far as we can observe.

Some locations are gradually converting to a desert landscape which will use much less water. However this is a very small percentage of the overall total. We find it troubling that many communities and individuals do not appear to be doing much about curtailing water usage. In fact in the condo we are staying at the water usage has gone up by 22% over the previous year.

Drought in California – Steps to Reduce Water Usage

The following list has been suggested by California to reduce water usage. It is not complete since this list is being adjusted and added to as the drought continues to get worse.

  • Water lawns only at night to reduce evaporation
  • Wash cars with hoses that can be turned off
  • Convert to desert landscape
  • Convert all water devices to efficient water use devices – toilets, showers etc
  • Report any running water to authorities
  • Repair any sprinklers that are not working properly
  • Correct sprinklers that spray water on sidewalks and roads
  • Reduce water use where ever and whenever possible.

How to Use a Pressure Washer

Pressure WasherA Pressure Washer can be a very useful tool around the home when used properly. It can also be an extremely dangerous tool if not used properly. We believe in safety first and urge readers to also read their instruction manuals. Pay particular attention to the safety aspect of the instruction booklet. We are not encouraging readers to purchase any particular type of Pressure Washer. However, we do encourage consumers to use them carefully. I was originally against buying one of these tools. I thought it was kind of frivolous and just a gimmick until I borrowed a neighbors. Then I realized just how useful a tool it actually was. Since we purchased it, we have used it for many different projects, that have been made much easier than it would have been otherwise. If you are considering purchasing one, just do it. They are really quite good.

Pressure Washer – Safety

The basic rule is never to point the wand at anything that you do not want to be damaged. This includes other people, yourself, and anything that could be damaged by a high-pressure stream of water. We have seen a jet of water cut right through the wood, cut plants in half, pierce the skin, and remove paint from a car.  Used incorrectly they can be both dangerous and cause a lot of expensive damage. Read all of the instructions and experiment first on something that you do not mind damaging to get used to using a pressure washer.

Pressure Washer – Adjust the Water Jet

The wand is designed to allow operators to adjust the concentration of water exiting from the wand. It can deliver a really tight stream of water. This is useful to cut things with, get at hard to remove paint on a cement wall, and remove stain from wood in hard to get to places. Adjusting the wand so that the stream is wider is also convenient. This adjustment will reduce the pressure of the stream which can be used to remove paint from walls or stain from wood. We found that it was excellent for removing loose paint and stain from wood.

When we wash the car, the wand is set to deliver as wide a stream of water as possible. Make sure you stand well back to make sure that there is little chance of removing any paint from your car. If your car is rusty or has loose paint, it is going to come off. This may some damage to your car that you may not be expecting. Standing back about six feet so that the wand is at least three feet from the car is usually enough. This distance should ensure that the paint will not be damaged by the pressure washer. If there is loose paint or rust on the car, even at this distance it is probably going to come off.


Decrease Your Water Usage

In our last post we wrote about the drought in California. We were wondering if they were doing enough to Decrease Your Water Usage in the state. We thought we would write a follow-up post. This is about how to Decrease Your Water Usage and save money at the same time. If you use less water, you are helping the water situation. You are also contributing to smaller water bills which saves every consumer money in the long run. This web site is about saving money. Decreasing your water usage is another excellent way to decrease your overall costs for utilities.

Decrease Your Water Usage – Replace Toilets and Faucets

Anyone with an old toilet and an old shower head as well as kitchen faucets can probably save themselves a bundle of money. Decrease Your Water Usage quickly by upgrading to modern units. There may be incentives in your jurisdiction to help pay for the upgrades which will decrease the overall cost of the conversion.

Not only will you Decrease Your Water Usage, decrease your water bill, but you will also be contributing to decreasing the overall impact of the drought. If the farmers cannot produce enough vegetables, the cost also are going to go up for these food items as well

Capture Rain Water

If you live in an area where it rains once and awhile, capturing rain water to be reused can save you money. It can be stored in a cistern to be reused or in a rain barrel to be reused. It will also decrease the water you use and lower your water bill as well.

Keep Your Grass Longer

We all like to have a nice looking lawn that is cut to golf course specifications. But did you know that if the lawn is allowed to grow longer it protects the ground underneath. Also less water evaporates from the soil making the roots of your lawn stronger. Allowing your lawn to grow one inch longer can make a huge difference in the overall health of your lawn. This also means less water usage.

California Water Drought

The California Water drought has been going on for a few years now as we write this post in the spring of 2014. We have been coming to California for the past 10 years. From everything we read, this is a pretty bad situation with lots of reservoirs empty or heading in that direction. The picture on the left is a good example of what they are dealing with.  This was a relatively small reservoir that is completely empty. No water sports or anything is going on now. It is like this all over the state.

California Water Drought – Are they Doing Enough

We are staying in the Palm Springs area of California. Frankly you would never even know that there was a drought in the state. The golf courses look great, the lawns are well watered. The plants and flowers are as beautiful as ever.  We know that the golf courses are converting to non potable water which means it is recycled which is a good thing. However most if not all of the watering that goes on at homes is from the main system. This water is not being limited in any way. You will see water running down the street at times when a sprinkler is not working properly.  The place we stay at waters the lawns at least four times a day if not more. Consequently they are not conserving water.

California Water Drought – What Can They do

They could start by converting all of the old toilets in our complex to high efficient models. These models use one-third of the water. They could convert the lawns to more of a desert landscape. Also increase the water bills to promote less water usage . They could make programs available to decrease the water usage for things like showers and toilets. The amount of water used could be decrease dramatically.

We just don’t think they are doing enough. What do you think about water conservation and the California Water Drought?

New toilet installation

New toilet installationWe are about to install a new toilet in our home to replace existing one that we have. My wife’s motivation is to replace existing toilet because it doesn’t look great, it is not modern, and doesn’t fit with her our decor. My motivation to replace his toilet is to reduce the amount of water usage that it currently uses every time we flush. Our old toilet will use up to 12 L of water every time which is about 3 gallons of water. The new toilets use between four and 6 L of water each time they are flushed depending on whether you have a dual flush toilet or a single flush toilet, either way it is a significant savings in the amount of water that you’re using.

The new toilets are also higher than the existing ones so you sit up higher. In addition you have slow close seats so that when you put the seat down you could just let it go. The seat and lid will slowly close rather than slamming down onto the toilet .

New Toilet Installation

In addition there are number of new features that cause the toilet to flush with much more force making it need less cleaning.

Hints and tips

We spoke to a plumber at one of our local hardware stores and he gave us a number of suggestions and hints or tricks about installing a toilet which will make the job easier. Plumbers will know this because they do this every day while the homeowner will not be aware of some of these tricks and will take the much more time or maybe even more parts.

Here are the tricks that we picked up from our conversation with the plumber at our local hardware store. I hope these help you and save you some money if you decide to do the installation of the toilet yourself.

  • You may have to use two wax rings if there are tiles on your floor and the flange is not flush with the floor.
  • You may have to purchase a flexible water pipe connection if the existing one is too short.
  • Sand the bottom of the toilet before installing it to make a smooth finish so it sits level on the floor.
  • The bolts that hold the toilet in place are difficult to install. Use some of the old wax to hold the whole bolts in the proper place in the flange and then place the new toilet on top.
  • Insert the wax ring into the toilet and not on to the flange to avoid crushing the wax ring and enabling leaks.

Rain Barrels Conserve Energy

Did you know that using rain barrels actually help to conserve energy? They help the environment at the same time? They also help to reduce consumer’s water bills. Important for those of us that have to pay for our water. Some consumers still do not have to pay for water. However in many major cities there is a water meter that measures the water that we use. Consumers are billed accordingly. This is a great way to save money. It is also a great way to help the environment. Any water you collect and use on your lawn saves you money and helps the environment as well.

The rain barrel shown in the picture sits under the down spout from your home. It has an overflow pipe along with a spigot with a tap that can have a garden water hose attached to it to drain water away or to spread on the lawn. This particular one is green in color. However rain barrels can be purchased in a variety of colors to mesh with the décor of your home and the surrounding gardens.

How Does Having a Rain Barrel Conserve Energy

The most direct saving is the reduction in the cost of the water that you use. Part of the cost of this water is the piping to deliver the water and the sewers to take away the waste water. Along with those things is the energy used to pump the water out of the ground and into reservoirs were it is treated. It is then pumped into water tanks for delivery to your home. Any time you reduce you water consumption; you will be reducing energy use and reducing your water bill at the same time.

Reducing Your Water Bill by Using  Rain Barrels

The primary benefit and the most direct benefit to using a water barrel is the reduction in cost for the water that you use. If you are billed for water they way the writer is, there are additional savings as well. There is the actual water charge which is the water that you used and recorded by your meter. In our case they then add a sewer surcharge of 117% of the water charge.

This is an unbelievable amount, but that is what it is for the city that we live in. In addition they add another charge of ninety cents a day for fire supply, whatever that is. We think that it is an additional tax on our properties for the fire service. But they place it on our water bill instead of our property tax bill. Water you use on your lawn will also generate a sewer charge even though the water does not go down the sewer.

If you bill for water is $100, then the sewer bills is going to be $117 for a total of $217 plus the cost of the fire service. If by using a rain barrel, you can reduce your water usage by 20% by using the water in the rain barrel to water the lawn instead of the water system. That’s $42 savings which goes a long way to paying for the cost of the rain barrel.

Do Your Own Evaluation

Every reader will have to do their own evaluation to assess how much water they can save and what impact that will have on their water bill. At some point the water savings will pay for the rain barrel and you will be making a contribution to reducing energy. This is a something we can all do and make a contribution to our pocket books at the same time. We can save a lot of money over a year and over several years. Frankly I would rather have it in my pocket and not that of the city water supply company.

This is another great way to save money and make a contribution to developing green energy savings solutions. Don’t forget to remove the down pipe in the fall from the barrel to avoid ice forming in the barrel and cracking it! Many people forget to do this and their water conservation project is finished until they replace the water barrel! This is just one more task to add to your list of things to do in the fall when you are getting your home ready for the winter.

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