Category: At Home (page 2 of 6)

California’s Missed Opportunity

Earlier last week, the National Weather Service in Sacramento held a weather chat on Twitter as an atmospheric river event was going to be barreling down on California. It was open to anyone to ask a meteorologist a question. I asked (on my personal Twitter account):

“When this storm passes, is it possible to calculate how much water fell across the state? #cawx”

@NWSSacramento’s video response:

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Pumps for unloading recycled water

pumpsThere are many different manufacturers of pumps that are excellent at unloading recycled water tanks, barrels or bags. They all serve a purpose, but vary by size, weight and capacity. Some pumps may look the same and function the same but are branded differently.

We’ve chosen a few that we’ve seen most often, they’re mostly purchased at Harbor Freight due to price and availability. Many people hauling recycled water wanted to do so on the cheap and Harbor Freight helped to make that possible.

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Unlocking your gardens growth potential

Like many of you, I tore out my lawn and put in a California drought friendly garden. Complete with drip irrigation, mulch and drought tolerant plants. Even with this landscape change, I still haul recycled water. As I’ve said many of times before, I do it because its the right thing to do.

Even though the plants don’t need much water, I still irrigate with drinking water through the drip system twice a week for a few minutes each time. On days when I bring recycled water home, I get to choose which plants get it and which don’t,  this has allowed me to perform a test and the results are key to unlocking your gardens full potential.

There are many different flowering plants in my garden, but there are two I want to focus on. Crinum (Cry-num) and Bulbinella (bulb-in-nell-uh).
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Above Ground Irrigation with Recycled Water

Use a wand when hand watering.

Use a wand when hand watering.

As repeatedly written, it is illegal to plumb recycled water to an existing irrigation system, especially if there is a possibility for recycled water and drinking water to mix. Recycled Water Fill Station users who decide to use their existing in-ground irrigation systems with recycled water risk losing their access to the free resource and could face fines or penalties for taking such steps.

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Preventative Maintenance Increases Utility Pump Reliability

Label on back of pump.

Label on back of pump.

If you bought a Pacific Hydrostar Portable Utility Pump – Model 65836 – from Harbor Freight you may have noticed extra parts in the box and a label on the pump that says “Check brushes after every 100 hours of use and replace as needed.

What does this label mean and why should you care? The motor has something called ‘Carbon Brushes’ inside which help to ‘excite’ the motor to make it spin. These will wear down over time and cleaning them every now and then can keep your pump running smoothly. Read on to find how to perform preventative maintenance on your utility water pump to ensure its reliability in the future.

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DIY: Storing recycled water in an IBC tote

Use a wand when hand watering.

Use a wand when hand watering.

Its late in the day, you just picked up a load of recycled water but you don’t have time to water the yard. What can you do? Unload your tank into a temporary storage tank and water the plants when you have time.

In this guide, we’ll show you what one recycled water hauler built to make his life easier.

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Oakley resident conserves 30% on water bill, hauling recycled water

Two 55 gallon barrels in a Tacoma.

Two 55 gallon barrels in a Tacoma.

If the headlines are true, “It will take years of wet weather before California recovers from drought, study finds“, then residential recycled water fill stations are here to stay, for a while longer. This is great news for recycled water haulers everywhere. Many have already setup up their irrigation systems and their solution works for them. We can all learn from their mechanical ingenuity.

Take for instance one hauler who lives in Oakley, California, he hauls 1700-1800 gallons of recycled water a month via two 55 gallon drums in the back of his Toyota Tacoma. This is his story.

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Why Do I Haul Recycled Water?

Utility pump connected to 150 gallon water bladder.

Utility pump connected to 150 gallon water bladder.

By my calculations, I have hauled over 23,000 gallons of recycled water since buying my first tank in 2014. In that span, I have made 159 trips to and from a fill station, driven over 1,100 miles while carrying an extra 1250 pounds in my truck. I have since purchased a new set of tires and what do I have to show for it? My water bill is down 92% from 2013 levels and my drought tolerant yard has never been greener.

I happily haul recycled water because it is the right thing to do.

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Lawn-to-Garden: A Year Later

A year ago I removed the lawn in my front yard and replaced it with a drought tolerant garden and a swale. I wrote about the process and everything that went in to it.

This is what it looked like before:

Here is what it looks like today:
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El Niño Could Lower Tax Bill

Water storage in Texas.

Water storage in Texas.

California usually sets the stage for policy when it comes to environmental issues. When it comes to rainwater harvesting, we are far behind. As we face this drought to drench, we should have the drive and motivation to capture as much rain was we can.  Even with reservoirs rising 391 billion gallons after a storm, we’re still short of average for this time of year.

Many call for building more dams or raising their levels to store more water – but all of that comes at a price and an environmental impact.

To put things into perspective, think of this call-to-action as de ja vu.  Back when installing photo-voltaic panels (solar panels) on homeowners roof’s was something deemed unworthy has now turned into a economic boom for the state. Nearly every neighborhood has dozens of homes covered in panels. Those power generation stations were funded with tax rebates. Rainwater harvesting should be no different.

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