Monday, October 08, 2007

No more watering

Last week the state declared the northern 1/3 of our state was in severe drought - they called for level 4 watering ban. That means NO outdoor water use - no watering the lawn, no washing cars, etc.

Now there are a few exceptions. You can still water a food garden. You can water if you draw your water from a private well, spring, stream or lake. The people in our neighborhood who live on the lake generally have a pump to use lake water for their lawn - that's ok still. You can also water new landscaping for 30 days - but ONLY if it was professionally installed.

Car wash businesses are still allowed, but not charity car washes (they aren't set up to recycle the water). Outdoor fountains, even those that recirculate the water are not allowed - I'm not quite sure why on this one - maybe they loose too much water to evaporation and then they have to replenish it?

They're saying that unless we get a lot of rain this winter - much more than normal, we may well be in a level 4 watering ban still next summer. That will hit people a lot harder than no watering here in the fall. Plus, no filling of pools. I hope people don't drain their pools this winter.

I haven't seen anyone violating the watering ban yet, but I wouldn't be surprised. All summer people were watering and washing cars on the wrong days/times of day (we were on an odd/even watering system, with water use allowed only between midnight - 10 am). I've seen in the paper that many people still aren't aware of the ban, and that people are being turned in anonomously.

For us, it doesn't mean a whole lot. I don't really believe in watering the lawn - I haven't intentionally watered it in the 8 years we've been here and it's still doing fairly well. (It has gotten byproduct watering from the kids playing in the sprinkler or when I used to water the shrubs and the sprinkler would also get some of the grass.) The plants that need watering are getting it from our "grey water" - we have buckets in the shower and any water collected from while we shower or while the water warms up gets used on the plants. The plants got a bonanza last night - both kids took baths instead of showers. I must have taken out 10 2-gallon buckets full of water.

As you can see, my Gerber daisy is doing quite well, even in this drought.

The snapdragons are even holding on - some of them look a little ragged, but these are ancient snapdragons.
Around here , snapdragons are supposed to be an annual - these have become perennials. I planted these at least 4 years ago, expecting to get one winter and one spring out of them and then they were "supposed" to die in the heat of the summer - sort of like pansies. Only my snapdragons never got that memo...



Blogger Carol P. said...

I remember water rationing from when we lived in California. Saving the buckets of water that came out before the shower warmed up to pour into the back of the toilet. Minimizing flushes (eeeeuw!). No watering the lawn or washing the car.

When we first moved to Oregon, it was such a novelty to not have to worry about that.

Hope this passes quickly for you all!

9:54 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

I hope it passes quickly too, but somehow I'm not counting on it. I think we've officially been in a drought something like 5 of the 8 years we've been here. This is the first complete watering ban, though.

They've mentioned water rationing or mandatory cutbacks of a certain percent of your water use, but no one has implemented that yet...

6:57 AM  
Blogger Carol P. said...

The first year of mandatory percentage cutbacks were easier than subsequent. There are big gains to be made by switching to low-flow shower heads, stopping outdoors water, fixing drippy faucets, etc.

The problem is that the big water users have bigger gains to be made by stopping watering for 5 hours every day and installing drip systems instead. The folks who already have low-flow toilets, drip irrigation on their 4 succulent plants (the rest is lava rocks and native plants), etc. find it harder to cut back. I know people who started showering at work, which didn't reduce the total usage but did get it off their home account.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

We'd probably not have an easy time cutting back much. And depending on how much they were mandating as cutbacks, it would be hard for them to monitor it - our water meters (or at least our bills) only monitor the thousands of gallons. We usually use 3-4 thousand gallons a month. I don't know how they would monitor cutbacks on someone like my mom who gets billed for 1000 gallons per month.

9:25 PM  

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