I haz a rain barrel!

Though, of course, it isn’t raining here these days. But I have plans. It’s taken days to set up, but so far here’s what seems to be working.

I threaded a hose underneath the sink out the same hole as the drain pipe, to empty into the barrel. At the top I’ve got it attached to what used to be the faucet of a small drink dispenser that is now sitting in the sink. This way I can just rinse things directly over it, and drain the (relatively) clean water out to the barrel. Many people just toss rinse water out the back door, but you can’t really reach any plants easily from there, and it scares the cats. The little dribbles will add up and eventually water stuff along the side of the house.

I’ve also got a hose with a funnel set up by the tub, and I’m hoping I can syphon cleanish water into it. For now it just drains directly onto the other side yard.

Maybe I can keep things relatively green. Maybe. We shall see.

Another rain barrel is in the works, to go in the laundry room and capture rinse water. I’m thinking I can thread a hose out where the dry vent goes through the wall. That’s for the back yard.

This drought really, really, sucks.


26 responses to this post.

  1. The only thing I worry about with barrels of water is skeeters.

    I’ll have to look at it next time we’re up there. I’ve been thinking the rinse water would be good for our fruit trees. (Have given up on the rest of us)


  2. Every drop saved counts! And catching grey water in a container is smart. I still think ornamental lawns should be outlawed in CA. It is unconscionable that good drinking water should be used to keep grass green. I’ve complained to the school district that they should stop allowing the groundskeepers to water the lawns in the schoolyards, but one principal said it would “demoralize” the the students and parents saw the grass all dead and brown. Way to teach children about conservation, school district!


    • jeeze
      I wonder how long they will keep that one up?
      We’re getting phone messages from EBMUD with conservation rules and hints and all.


      • Not to mention we HAVE to cut down or there will be fines.

        The problem with Sacto is they don’t have water meters, so they don’t care.

        Nobody in my neighborhood is watering and I don’t see any signs of demoralization or creeping ennui or whatever. I see one really green lawn on my usual rounds, and they’re the people who put that fancy fake grass in a couple years ago.


        • The suburb I work in has metered water, but the schools don’t. They can use as much as they like, because the city pays for it. There was talk about replacing the grass on the soccer fields and softball diamonds with astroturf, but the district balked, saying it was too expensive. I was thinking of all the weed killer they didn’t have to buy, the lawnmowers they could sell off, not to mention never having to water faux grass. Someone said the custodians’ union was scared the district would lay off the groundskeepers, so they lobbied against astroturfing the schools. But the groundskeepers could focus on picking up all the damned litter on the schoolgrounds instead of mowing and watering the grass. There are days where the playground is so dirty, I wouldn’t want my kid to set foot on it.


    • You have GOT to be kidding me. It will be a lot more demoralizing when there is no water to drink. How can adults be so short-sighted???


      • That second to last sentence in my comment…I shouldn’t write after a long day, lol. But school administrators are famous for making excuses about dumb practices at their schools.

        Back in 1976 we had this drought this emptied most of the reservoirs out here. I don’t think most people realized how bad things were until they opened up their faucets and sludge came out. I remember, after dirty gray water came out of my parents’ bathroom faucet, unscrewing the aerator and finding sand stuck in it. I cleaned it out, but the water was still this dark, ugly gray. I stopped drinking tap water after that: but I think about that glass of gray water when I see stories about the drought on the news.


        • Yeah, I was out here in 1976.
          It was scary then, and it’s scary now.
          In the Bay Area the water never got that bad last time.
          This time, who knows?


      • Professional educators are sometimes a bit screwy.
        Also, of course, any decision that results in the status quo is always easiest.
        HG’s point about the lesson it sends the kids is important.


  3. The one I bough offers a variety of tops to put over the open bit on the top – so you can attach it to your roof gutter and have it all sealed up.
    The default is a screen that covers the open bit.
    I have that screen put in slightly offset, so the hose can go in, but I thoroughly duct-taped all the open edges, so there is no entry point.
    OR you could pretty much do it yourself if you could cut the appropriate hole in a heavy duty plastic garbage can and bung a threaded faucet through for a hose.
    Anyway, next time you are here we will do the recycled water tour.


  4. Those are great ideas! So much water is wasted. Even now.
    When my cousin and I were in India we were amazed how little water we actually used. Spot baths with a wash cloth and bottled water to drink. No gallons of water going down any drains.


    • Yes, already, not counting the new grey water thing, we’ve cut usage in half since 2013.
      Lots of little things, but mostly just being mindful.


  5. Grey water systems are awesome! Good for you!!!!


  6. “They” have been urging people who want to water their lawns (et. al.) to get something like this. I saw one on sale at a local place for less than $70 (and it did seal to keep mosquitos from using it as a nursery).

    But … I’d just as soon all my greenery turn brown and not have to be mowed.

    But … I have been thinking about how much water I could save by using something like this to flush the toilet.


    • Although then you have to be careful about cats drinking from it….
      But it is a good idea.
      Also, water-efficient toilets work fine.
      The one people out here recommend is the Toto – it’s designed well enough that people don’t end up having to double-flush and undo the effect.


  7. The question is: will it get worse before it gets better? I keep thinking y’all have hit rock bottom, then there’s news of the drought getting even deeper. Scary stuff!


    • Well out here rain is seasonal, so we’re pretty much done for this season.
      There might be another few sprinkles as late as June, but from April to November things mostly stay dry.
      The real question is whether we get a “normal” rainy season next year or not.


  8. It is a really sensible thing to have. Even without water shortage. My aunt has two of them and England being England (well – nevermind that there was a drought during summer the first two years when I came here) it’s not a necessity as such. But why not recycle rain water instead of using fresh water.

    (You description of attaching hose to pipe to pull and attach …etc, made my brain swim to such a degree that it actually reminded me of an age old sketch from Germany. Tried to see if I could find something visual even if in Germany as a joke to explain how I felt.
    Basically it is “Gymnastics on the radio” a woman telling the audience what to do next. It is so crazy that one would need to be a boneless human to manage. The “session” is concluded with: and tomorrow I tell you the solution to untie the knot.)


    • Of course a drought in England is the wettest year ever in the history of California!

      I wish I had money to do all native plants. Or at least pretty rocks. For now we’re just keeping the crabgrass mowed. The weeds seem to stay green even without watering.

      I do miss the hot tub.


  9. Good luck! I’d give you some of our extra rain if I could. We got a bunch last week. There’s more in the forecast as well. I really wouldn’t mind sending the clouds your way for a week.
    I’m kind of amazed at how long it’s taken for tough water restrictions to go into place in CA. And that so many people hadn’t done any xeriscaping. That’s becoming more common around here, but we still have too many people moving in. Not looking forward to the local water issues that will happen again at some point in this state


  10. At least you aware doing your part to conserve water. Huge pat on the back!!
    Can’t wait to hear how it is working out in a month or so.


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