Tag Archives: drought

  • 5 Uses for Rain Water - No Butts About It

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    No Rain WaterIf you’re one of the millions living in a drought-stricken area this summer, you’re in for a doozy. The lakes are low, the sprinklers are off (or at least, they should be), and water restrictions are disrupting our casual regard for that precious liquid we call water. We are more aware than ever that we should be taking a more responsible look at how we turn on the tap, run the sprinklers, and even channel the little rain that falls on our yards and rooftops. And so I ask, “What should we be doing, now and in the future, to best use and conserve water?”

    Enter the water butt.

    Rain BarrelWhile doing some research about rain barrels, I was amused to find that our good neighbors across the pond (ie. the United Kingdom) describe them as “water butts.” Now I don’t know why they call them water butts, and I’m not going down that road to the obvious one-liners. But with a very dry summer on fast approach, in barrels or butts, it’s a good time to consider ways to collect every precious raindrop that may fall our way.

    Water butts are actually quite common in the UK, and like barrels, they collect rain from rooftops for future use. But once you have a butt-load (sorry) of water, or your barrel is full…what are you supposed to do with it? Let’s use the UK as an example we all can follow.

    The United Kingdom can be a rainy place, but they are also used to drought on a regular basis. That’s why, for centuries, the Brits have made it a regular practice to capture and use rainwater. By using their heads and their butts (sorry, again), they are able to channel rainwater for variety of different things, many for which we often use fresh tap water, in fact. It’s this blatant disregard for clean tap water, and the precious rain falling around us, that may soon send us up a dry river without a paddle. And so, using those Limies as our example, I give you…

    Five uses for your rain water!

     

    1. Drink It

    I hate to be Captain Obvious, but one of the most important roles water plays is giving us life. However, before you drink it, you’ll want to filter and treat it first. After all, most of that water is coming straight off your roof, which has who-knows-how-much dirt, pollution, and whatever-it-is-that-birds-leave-behind on it. But fear not, for once the water has been treated, it’ll be safe to drink. Boiling, chemical treatment, and water filters are all good methods for making your water drinkable. And you can keep on living.

     

    1. Cook With It

    This is pretty much the same as #1, except this relates to preparing food instead of straight-up drinking it. The same principles apply here. Even though you’re cooking your food, you’ll want to make sure you treat and filter rainwater before use. See the previous option for methods in making your water clean.

     

    1. Water Your Plants

    If you have a garden – flowers, vegetables…weeds – use the contents of your rain barrel to water them. Don’t waste precious potable water on plants that don’t care if it’s filtered or not. Since rain barrel water can become pretty dirty from just sitting there, be sure to avoid watering the tops of your vegetables. This prevents contaminating the edible, above ground portion of the veggie that’s hard to clean. This is especially true for leafy greens. And, as always, make sure you wash your vegetables thoroughly with clean water before eating them.

     

    1. Wash Cars and Windows

    Because rain water is free of calcium, chlorine, and lime, water from your rain barrel is a great option for washing your car. Since it’s soft water, it won’t hurt your car’s paint or damage windows. And, you’ll be saving some of that precious tap water for more practical uses, like drinking.

     

    1. Flush the Toilet

    This might not work as well in areas where rain doesn’t fill up your large rain barrel every week, but in places like Seattle, using your rain barrel to flush your toilet can save a ton on water. Actually, it can save closer to 9 tons of water, per person, per year. And that is when you use high efficiency, low-flow toilets. As it turns out, there are a number of places in Seattle already using this tactic. So if you live in a rainy state, this could be a unique alternative to literally flushing away your good, clean water and can also cut back on your water expenses.

     

    If those ideas don’t suit your fancy, you can always do what I did as a kid; collect pollywogs and keep them in your water barrel. Of course, you’ll soon have a large infestation of toads to deal with (see my future blog about all-natural garden pest control).

    The drought has had a positive impact on how we value and conserve water. If we do more like our English cousins and put tap water where our mouth is, and rainwater where our butt is (last one, I promise), we can help make sure there will be plenty of the precious liquid to go around. No buts about it, rain barrels can be a real life, and water, saver.

     

    What other things do you use your rain water for? Let us know in comments!

     

    Drought Click Bait 2

    Posted In: Gardening, Insight, Water Storage Tagged With: rain water, water butt, drought, water barrel

  • What Does Star Wars Teach Us About Drought?

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    With less than 1% of surface water and an average humidity level of 5.4%, Tatooine was a very hostile place to live...

    Star Wars Tatooine Tatooine

    Compared to Tatooine (the desert planet made famous in Star Wars), California ain’t half bad. With an average humidity level of 53% during the day and 4.8% of water covering the entire state, California would feel stiflingly humid for the locals of Tatooine. And that 4.8% area of water is just for the state of California, compared to less than 1% of the entire planet of Tatooine. Yes, compared to Tatooine, California is quite the wetland.

    But if California is fearing a water shortage, how does a place like Tatooine – with even less water – survive? Water was obviously hard to come by on that Outer Rim planet, but with great drought came great innovation.

    Moisture farms made it possible for life on Tatooine. On these farms, moisture farmers would harvest water from the atmosphere. In order to do this, moisture vaporators were used. Moisture vaporators are essentially tall, refrigerated pipes, and when hot, moist air came in contact with these pipes, the humidity would condense onto the pipes, turning into water, and would be collected into underground water storage containers for future use.

    Basically, this is their version of a rain barrel.

    Vaporator (ABC) ABC

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have something like that? Believe it or not, this type of moisture vaporator actually does exist, and it’s even in our galaxy, rather than one far, far away. Invented by Terry LeBleu from Texas, his machine pulls in water from the air and turns it into pure drinking water. People need about one gallon of water per day to live comfortably. This includes water from drinking as well as sanitation. Properly maintained, one moisture vaporator on Tatooine can sustain up to three people. LeBleu’s version does even better:

     

    “Depending on humidity, the machine can make between five to seven gallons of pure water in one day. All you have to do is plug it in, and one gallon costs only 4 cents in electrical charges.”

     

    This right here proves that Star Wars is real (but let’s be honest, we really didn’t need proof since we all know it’s real anyway).

    But what about California? They don’t have moisture farms (although maybe they should start looking into those), but there are some things people there can do during a drought to help preserve water. The following are a few steps to take to prepare for a drought and help preserve water during one (this goes for all areas, not just California).

     

    1. Store Water

    Just like moisture farmers, we should have ways of storing our own water. Water reserves, water barrels, jugs, cans, and pouches…there are many ways to store water, each with its own benefit. Water reserves and barrels are large and hold a lot of water, but they take up more room. Jugs, cans, and pouches are smaller, so they can fit better in smaller areas, but they hold less water. The point is to have some sort of water storage, so if water does run out for a bit, you’ll have some on hand until help can arrive.

     

    1. Stop Leaks

    You may not think a leaky faucet is a big deal, but did you know that if your faucet is dripping one drop per second, you’ll be wasting 2,700 gallons every year? The people (and aliens) of Mos Eisley do not approve of such waste. Stop those leaks!

     

    1. Don’t Water Your Lawn So Much

    You don’t necessarily have to spray paint your lawn green to keep it looking nice (although it is a tactic some Californians are reverting to), but do try to cut back on how much water you use to green up your grass. Your lawn only needs to be watered once every 5 days in the summertime, so maybe it’s time to put the sprinkler away those days in between. And, in the winter, your lawn only needs a watering every 10 to 14 days. A bonus is if you get a good rain, your grass is good for up to two weeks! Don’t overdo it. You don’t see Jabba the Hutt using water excessively, and he only cares for himself!

     

    1. Recycle

    Don’t waste water if you can find another use for it. Excess shower water, for example, can be used to water your plants. Find ways to capture excess water and use it for other things you’d normally use water for.

     

     

    Star Wars may take place in a galaxy far, far away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from their drought-ridden planets. Tatooine is in a constant state of drought, and always has been. California is now in their 4th year of drought, but if it keeps up the way it is, Tatooine may have a new rival when it comes to arid wastelands. But before California turns into a genuine dust bowl, there are some steps to take to reduce water usage and prepare for even harsher conditions. During times of drought, water is the most valuable resource you have. Take care of it, and it will take care of you.

     

    For more information on drought, including articles and essential gear and products, visit beprepared.com/drought-preparedness.

     

    Drought Preparedness

     

    Additional Reading:

    When the Well Runs Dry: http://beprepared.com/blog/17715/well-runs-dry/

    Don't Doubt the Drought: http://beprepared.com/blog/17819/dont-doubt-drought/

    Posted In: Planning, Water Storage Tagged With: moisture vaporator, Tatooine, Star Wars, California, drought, water storage

  • Don't Doubt the Drought

    Water Main CoverIn case you missed it, the state of California just passed a new set of water restrictions in its ongoing efforts to survive what experts are calling the second worst drought in US history. We’ve talked about the drought in this forum before. In fact, we spent a good chunk of 2014 looking at the varied effects of such a widespread dry spell—everything from gardening adjustments and grocery prices to wildfires and rattlesnakes!

     

    So, while Californians are already pulling out their lawns and keeping a wary eye out for parched pests, the San Jose Mercury News describes residents’ latest requirements:

     

    “[T]he rules adopted Tuesday:

    Watering Lawn

    • Ban all restaurants, bars and hotels from serving water unless customers ask for it.

     

    • Require all hotels and motels to provide signs in rooms telling guests that they have the option of choosing not to have towels and linens washed daily.

     

    • Ban Californians from watering lawns and landscaping with potable water within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.

     

    • Require cities, counties, water districts and private companies to limit lawn watering to two days a week if they aren't already limiting lawn and landscape watering to a certain number of days a week.”

     

    Yikes. And if no ice water at your favorite restaurant sounds drastic, it might not be drastic enough. In light of Gov. Brown’s call to cut water use by 20% in 2014, water activist Conner Everts points out, “we are failing”—the state’s water consumption went down by less than 10% last year, leading to the current restrictions. And then there’s Everts’ haunting question:

     

    “At what point do we accept that this might be the fourth year of a 10-year drought?”

     

    Water LevelsSo, while California farmers drain the last of what blogger Mark Morford calls “our ‘backup’ water” from the ground, we’ll be sending moist thoughts and rainy vibes westward. However, if you live somewhere supposedly unaffected by the drought, don’t think that you get to stop paying attention. Have you heard the adage, “When the time for decision comes, the time for preparation has passed”? In other words, if you’re not currently experiencing a drought, the time to prepare for one is now!

     

    As ever, start with good information. Check out the blog posts listed below to learn more about water purification, filtration, and (critically!) storage. Then don’t forget to browse our water products for everything from tablets and filters to barrels and pouches.

     

     

    How about you? How has your area been affected? What have you been doing to prep for or thrive during a drought?

    Posted In: Additional Reading, Disaster Scenarios, Planning, Water Storage Tagged With: California, drought, Prepare, water

  1. 1-3 of 16 items

Please wait...