Of Bank Holidays, Severe Drought and Conservation

Stange bedfellows in the topic I suppose, but it is what it is.  Yesterday, being a federal holiday and bank holiday meant a half-day at work.  So around lunch yesterday, I took off to meet my wife for lunch before heading home to do some things around the house, but along the way, I was noticing some of the sad signs of the sever drought that we are in.

For those that don't know much about Atlanta, we are in a bad way in terms of water.  So severe that the entire northern 1/3 of the state is under a complete outdoor watering ban, and they are starting to talk about water consumption limits per household.  At issue is our water reserves come primarily from two lakes, Lanier (Chattahoochee River) and Allatoona (Etowah & Coosa Rivers).   Unfortunately, with Atlanta's normally wet August afternoons having been and gone in a very dry fashion, these rivers are now at their lowest points in decades, and dropping at a rate of 12" per week, the metro Atlanta area is in full on crisis mode regarding water supplies. 

With the dry weather continuing, it is only going to get worse (oddly, it's thundering and raining as I type this, but one rain shower isn't going to make much of a dent in the deficit).  

All of this got me to thinking about my own conservation efforts, and how I can expand them.   When I bought the scooter a little over a year ago, a huge part of the motivation was to conserve gas and money spent on gas.  That little mental shift led me to some other conservation oriented actions that over the year have become habits.  I now recycle shopping bags when I go grocery shopping, and have placed a renewed emphasis in the household of using recyclable materials.  We buy and recycle aluminum, glass and plastic.  We stopped running partial loads of laundry or dishes.  But, how can we expand upon these basic things, particularly in light of the worsening water situation?  

It's not like I water my grass, it's bermuda, you can't kill it even if you try, it'll go dormant if it gets too dry, but I do have some indoor plants, and some annuals that I maintain in the yard that do require occasional watering.   I do still take showers, we do have an almost 2 year old child, and the kids still have to be relatively clean for school.   We don't wash our cars.  So what can we do?  So yesterday, I spent the day going through the house looking at 'ways to conserve more'.  

Fortunately, the house is new enough, that all of the commodes are high efficiency commodes that use less water than older styles.  I don't think I can reduce them much more, but I did find one faucet the showed evidence of a slow drip, so it will be replaced this weekend, as well as one toilet that looked like it has a slow drip.  Add a rebuild kit to the list.  I also checked all of the shower heads in the house.  only one had a water flow restrictor in it, so I've got 2 of those to add to the list.  These will help, but it doesn't address the plants, which need water.   In my wanderings, I found a source for water for the plants.  The air conditioner, which we don't use all that often is clearly generating a fair amount of condensation anytime it kicks on, so here's the plan.  Buy a 5 gallon bucket and a small pump with a couple of feet of hose to extend the drain from the condensation drain tube to dump the condensation into the bucket, which I intend on burying in the ground.  I will then add a small pump that I can use to pull the water out to fill a watering can for watering the plants, and an overflow, that allows the bucket to drain into a flower bed anytime it overflows.  

So, tonight, I have a scooter trip to the nearby Lowes for some supplies.  Perhaps it's time for us to start adding small cisterns for rainwater and condensation collection for use in watering our yards, water reclamation is a good thing.

Content by dru_satori, edited on a Mac using SandVox (because I'm lazy)