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Friday, April 20, 2007

Water Restrictions

So as you may or may not be aware, I am living under phase II water restrictions. What does this mean? Nothing really. I am opposed to yard watering, so why do I care if I can only water the lawn 2 days a week? I don't. I think all forms of lawn watering should be banned really.

But I can do more to conserve water. For one, I need to get a thingie for the shower that allows water to be cut off without having to turn the faucets. This way I can restrict water use in the shower to getting wet, then rinsing off. There is no reason to leave the water running when I am soaping up really. With the water cut off thingie, I can probably keep showers to only three or four minutes of "water on" time without compromising "anti stink" properties.

The toilets here are also old, and they use a lot of water. I think they are at least 5 gallon flush units. These toilets are actually illegal now - so NOBODY TELL THE TOILET POLICE! But really, as soon as I can get around to it I would like to replace the toilets with a modern low water flush toilet. In the meantime, the best I can do is put a displacement device in the tank and reduce the amount of water used per flush by a half gallon or so. MAYBE a gallon at the most. The ideal solution would be a waterless composting toilet, but the 1 pint flush toilet would be more realistic here. And instead of composting, it would be easier (and more practical) to make the toilet dump into the sewer.

Oh yea, and nobody is supposed to run the dishwasher unless it is full, and half loads of laundry are discouraged - even if you lower the water level in the wash tub.

Washing your car is restricted to designated watering times and days. But I can wash down my boat after I use it regardless of the time or day.

How bad is the water situation? Why is South Florida under water restriction? Is this just some crap made up so the water police can hand out tickets? I decided to find out! As always, clicking the images loads them in full size - which in this case is not that much larger than the ones here. Full size photos are 90k or less in size. They were all taken in and around Lake Okeechobee recently. I did not take the photos, they all came from the South Florida Water Management District website - the date stamps are all this month or last month.

This is a lock, going from the lake to some canal. The pile of rocks are supposed to have water between them. As you see, they are high and dry. I do not think this lock will be used anytime soon.

This is dry lake bed. Actually, I think this is a canal that runs around part of the lake. Anyway - the point is that the water level is clearly supposed to be higher. It does not take someone with a hydrology degree to see that.

This is supposed to be a pier that extends out into the lake. It BARELY reaches the water now. It is a pier over a mud pit now. If you look carefully at the piling, you can see water stains. This is where the water is supposed to be. The upper stain is the high tide mark. Notice how these stains are just under the walkway.

This is a lonely day marker. It is supposed to mark a channel so boats do not run aground. But it is not marking a channel anymore. It is far from the waters edge. This photo really hits home. This is a severe water shortage - no question about it.

This is a wide shot of a channel leading to a boat ramp. The outer green day marker is in the water, but that water is probably only a few inches deep at the most. The rest of the channel is dry. This channel and ramp is probably supposed to be for flat bottom boats or canoes - not V or semi V hulls like my boat is. It may even be intended to air boats that CAN run in only an inch or two of water. But it is not supposed to be this dry. The markers are supposed to be in water. On land, these markers are not needed.

And this is the ramp. Or at least a ramp. See that nice green field with the gently rounded edge off to the left? That is all supposed to be water. But it is not water, it is dry. The basin is also dry. This is not a boat ramp, it is a 4x4 vehicle ramp.

I really think that South Florida should be on level III restrictions at this point. Maybe even the most severe restrictions - level IV. Level III restrictions limit lawn watering to one day a week, level IV bans all lawn watering.



Blogger Econo-Girl said...

Wow. Disturbing. I heard a long time ago that water is going to be the next oil in terms of demand and scarcity.

Have you guys had an exceptional drought?

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

We did have below average rainfall last wet season, and a drier than normal dry season. And we are below normal rainfall levels for this year.

Blogger Senor Caiman said...

The Lazy,

This is a huge issue for Florida. I would guess about 20 years ago I worked on desal plant technology. It's a viable alternative. Where the problem lies is that the desal plant rests on shore and where does all the crap in the water eventually end up, near the shore. It's a never ending battle to keep the filters clear.

Those pictures are scary.

Blogger Cheesemeister said...

We'll probably be better off this year because of all the snow fall but in Colorado the drought was so bad one year that a certain group wanted to drain the aquifers beneath the great sand dunes near Alamosa, which of course would have destroyed the ecosystem. I'm glad they weren't able to pass that measure. There are little animals that live there that live nowhere else in the world.

Anonymous John Crapper said...

Mr. Iguana,
Your subversive toilet activities have been noted and I will be sending officers to your home forthwith.
John Crapper
Chief of the Toilet Police

Blogger Ba Doozie said...

I think your water conservation idea's could be expounded upon. for example, digging a ditch in the backyard and or just owning a porta potty would cut back on flushing.

Cut back on showering and just use a bunch of ozone depleting deoderants

All people with hair longer than one inch are required to shave their heads, long hair takes forever to wash and rinse

drink more "other" fluids drinking water is over rated

no swimming pools. people don't need to swim, they are not fish

anyone caught wasting water is made to lick the bottom of that dry lake bed

what do you think?

Blogger Sar said...

Wow, those are some stark pictures. Admirable loyalty, but I believe it's really just an excuse for you to go out and get another gadget. Afterall, everyone knows golf courses are the only places in FL with sprawling greens. :)

Blogger Matt said...

Droughts are sad, always.

Blogger Emma Sometimes said...

I'm just waiting for everything east of the San Andreas fault to fall into the ocean.

Blogger Daisy said...

I'm scairt about the water situation. I have decided that I won't drink from the faucet so much, and try to use my water bowl more instead.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Caiman - I think Tampa has a large desal plant. And Key West uses one too. I do not think there are any in Miami-Dade, because it is cheaper to just pump the everglades dry. But we may have to look into a desal plant.

CM - Water is a problem all over the planet. There is only so much fresh water you know.

Mr Crapper - bring it! The toilet police do not scare me. Your plunger is no match for my Mossberg 590.

Ba Doozie - I like your ideas. The waterless composting toilet I would like to install uses no water and turns poop into rich soil. So it is kind of like a shitting trench. The Axe body spray people love me. I like my water flavored with hops and malt. Last severe water restriction people did drain their pools to keep their lawns alive. At some point it becomes illegal to refill your pool. I think anyone wasting water should get a mega atomic wedgie and left to dangle from the flagpole in front of the courthouse for an hour.

Sar - Welcome back! My lawn actually stays fairly green. I let it grow and so the roots run deeper than people who mow all the time. Also there is a large tree that shades most of the front yard. But if it turns brown - oh well. I do not cry about it. The lawn is my arch nemesis.

Matt - I expect this will become more and more frequent. I can see a day not too far in the future when the entire State is under permanent water restrictions that may be even stricter than what is going on now.

Emma - That is a good way to look at it. I never considered that it is the rest of the USA that is falling away from California!

Daisy - good idea! Although I do not think you are to blame for the restrictions. You probably do not take many baths.

Blogger Meow said...

Wow, didn't realise you were in similar situation as we were. Our water catchments are down to 30% or so, and we have stage 3 water restrictions (only watering the garden between certain times, twice a week; absolutely no washing cars; no using hoses to wash house windows; as well as numerous other things. If you don't have a dual flush toilet, many people put a house brick in their toilet cistern ... this reduces the amount of water it holds !!
The lake where we always holiday is currently down to 6% ... so sad.
Hope all is well, otherwise, in your world.
Take care, Meow

Blogger Victoria said...

Wow, those pictures are scary. Is there any chance of respite? Or does it not rain in the summer months at all?

Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

THAT is why I'm doing xeriscaping in both my yard and my friend's yard. I have a beautiful succulent garden in part of the yard now. Let's face it: With everyone continuing to move here and edge out us natives, we will soon need to move so that we can afford to live. Water is at a premium, so is land and housing. It's such a shame that Florida is being destroyed.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Meow - this has happened before. what Florida needs is above average rainfall - but the rain has to be NORTH of the lake. Rain over where I am will do nothing to help the situation, as rains that falls here does not drain to the lake. I keep a 2 liter soda bottle in the toilet tank. I am going to see about upgrading that. But if I displace too much tank water, the toilet will not flush.

Victoria - it is always possible. A good wet tropical storm that stalls out over land in just the right place could do a lot to replenish the lake.

Saur - I think that lawn watering should be illegal. Only spot watering should be allowed, and that should be limited. If the grass turns brown then that means less mowing. This is the good thing about restrictions.

Blogger Fuzz said...

You can take a compleat shower with 1 gal of warm water in a milk jug. 1st, get a little wet, soap up, and get a friend to pore the rest of the water slowly over you to rinse. You can to it your self, but it's more fun with a friend.
Our "facilities" use no water, although they do require a short walk.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

I may try the gallon jug thing, but I have a feeling I may need two. Two gallon jugs that is.

I do not really want anyone to witness me cleaning the ass crack.

Blogger Fuzz said...

Ah, a modest man.


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