Jun. 25th, 2008 10:22 am
mimulus_borogove: (Default)
Wildfires are burning all over Northern California. We don't live especially near any of them, and yet the air is hazy and smelly. I tried to take the kids for a wagon ride yesterday, but turned back early because I felt like I was holding cigarettes to their lips. This morning, the smell hit me halfway down the stairs.

Edit: Just check out the fire map. Yikes.

What a scary part of climate change this is! It seems that a lot of people think that if they hide inside and turn up the air conditioners, global warming won't bother them. But the drought--which may be partly due to natural cycles, but is almost certainly worsened by the human-caused heat--is baking the area into kindling. I suspect that homes and lives will be lost. It's a poor swap for an SUV.
mimulus_borogove: (Default)
After reading [profile] whatifoundthere's comment on my last drought post, I re-read the drought restriction notice more carefully. They're not applying drought rate to 90% of what we used, but to 90% of what our allowed baseline usage was. The baseline levels have always been kind of a mystery to me anyway. So it's not so brutal to people who've been careful with their water usage in the past, but Casa Sweetrabbits has some work to do.

One thing that may help: Sweety left for work early the other day and realized that the sprinklers were running more often than we thought. When the landscape designer put in the new watering times for our newly landscaped yard, she didn't delete the old watering program. Sweety deleted the old one, so we will be using a little less water than we've used the past few months, at any rate. No wonder our new plantings looked so lush and green, eh?
mimulus_borogove: (Default)
Our water utility has declared that we have a drought, and that we're going to start a new fee structure in August. By this time, we will be expected to use 90% or less water than we have in the same months of previous years or pay a premium.

This isn't going to be prohibitively expensive for us even if we go over the 90%, but I'm trying to think of ways to ratchet down our water use. I try not to waste in general, but I have gotten a little lazy on a few points. There are a few things I won't compromise on--the kids need clean sheets every week, and the new plantings need to establish their root systems if they're going to be xeric later--but I'm making some vows to cut back on our water usage.

What I'm trying first:

  • Put more items in the dishwasher; hand-wash fewer items.
  • For plates that need hand-washing, remember to use the spray head instead of the faucet. It uses less water, and it works better anyway.
  • Wash hair every other day. I do need to wash the rest of me pretty much every day, but hair often benefits from less washing.
  • Stop using the warm shower as a place to work out muscle stiffness; do a little tai chi every day instead.
  • Collect water left from heating shower water and use it to water houseplants and garden.
  • Using bibs, washcloths, and kid clothes of the color due for the next washing. This will keep me from doing extra OxiClean soaks or doing laundry before a load is full.

I found a site that has a lot of clever ideas for conserving water and finding leaks in the home, too. I'll have to try some of their recommendations.

It's kind of nice to have an impetus to cut back on water use. I'm big on conserving in general, but working at home and having kids has really let our use of all utilities balloon. I have found it pretty easy to look at the bills and say, "Well, of course it's high. It's because we have kids." But we may not really need to do a load of laundry every day. We may not need to hand-wash all the kids' dishes. It's time to re-examine our patterns and see if they couldn't be more efficient.


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March 2009



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