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Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:36 am
by LadyA
I haven't mowed since the beginning of June! Nothing is growing. Usually, this time of year, I would have to mow at least once, and sometimes twice, a week!
There are severe water restrictions all over the country, with night time shut offs, and talk of having to do rolling shut offs during the day soon. Thankfully, my well is still holding out. I'm being VERY sparing with water, although I'm watering the veg and tunnel, but I'm saving dish washing to once a day, and that water goes in a bucket and gets used on plants. Even in the shower, I put a basin in to catch the water, and reuse that! Because I don't know exactly how good the well is. It never has run dry. But we've never had such a long spell without any rain before. And none forecast for at least another week. Any tiny amounts of rain Ireland is getting is missing our area completely.

Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:06 am
by MrsBiscuit
You are doing exactly the right thing, LadyA, good luck to you. I used to keep a small watering can in the bathroom to capture the water I ran to get it hot, in the big scheme of things I don't suppose it made much difference, but it made me feel better. BTW I remember we had a brief chat about carrots in some thread or other, much to my surprise mine have come up and are being enjoyed by us, but they are tiny because I think I sowed my 2nd batch more or less where the first batch were, so they have had no room to grow properly! I also have had a few beetroot from seed which must be at least 6 years old if not more, so don't always believe the seed packets!

Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:31 am
by Margaid
My kitchen sink hot water tap is the furthest from the boiler, although under the sink is the point of entry for the cold water main. I've started taking a small washing up blow into the utility room, pouring the first lot of water into the butt by the backdoor, them filling the bowl with hot water to wash up. This is largely a result of the emergency "shut off" last week. We did have a "damping" on Thursday morning - about two hours of very light rain but my "grass" is still just as brown and crunchy. Thunderstorms were forecast for yesterday and the wind got up, it clouded over then ... zilch! Were it not for all growing things and animal life I'd be 100% happy with the weather!

Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:25 pm
by Marigold
I found out today that torrential rain had fallen in Basingstoke, 13 miles East of us, had travelled west for ten miles and soaked nearby villages, then skirted round Whitchurch and landed again to the west of us at Andover, thence onwards to all the places west we drove through yesterday evening.
Met Office now says small chance of light shower on Wednesday but I don't believe it.
GGGRRR! Just not fair!

Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:41 pm
by LadyA
Margaid wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:31 am
wind got up, it clouded over then ... zilch! Were it not for all growing things and animal life I'd be 100% happy with the weather!
That keeps happening here! And it's doubly annoying, because when the air pressure/weather is changing like that, I get headaches. So I've had a few headaches, which I wouldn't mind if it would just rain! But no! We've had the changes in pressure, the cloud, the sky darkening and looking threatening. And then nothing!

Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:13 pm
by Icemaiden
I love the idea of saving the water that you run off waiting for the hot water to get to the tap, & putting the "waste* water into the water butt. I'm going to do that!

Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:11 pm
by Marigold
We have Solartwin solar hot water heating panels, which have the advantage of being entirely solar powered. They have a small separate solar panel to power the pump that drives the water through the panels, instead of a mains electric pump like most other types. The water driven round the panels is the actual water that is stored in the hot tank and used in the bath or sink etc once heated. Most other solar water heating systems heat a solution of water and antifreeze through the panels, which is then circulated round pipes surrounding the hot water tank. The Solartwin system needs softened water in a hard water area like ours, to prevent the tubes from scaling up, so we also installed a water softener. This is excellent in many ways but does mean we can't use the softened water on the garden, so are unable to recycle bath water etc in this way as it's very slightly salty. We have a separate mains tap in the kitchen for drinking water and an outside mains garden tap for watering. Rather an ecological conundrum!

Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:30 am
by LadyA
Why can't you use the softened water on the garden, Marigold? What's in the water softener? The area I'm in is interesting, in that my water is extremely soft (alkaline?) so much so that, although nothing ever gets scale build up on it (which is good), the alkaline water over years, gradually eats through copper pipes and brass fittings! I've had to have most of the water pipes in the house replaced with plastic and the hot water tank, I had replaced with a stainless steel one! Very, very expensive, but guaranteed for life. Neighbours just over half a mile away as the crow flies, have such hard water that eventually, they too had to install a softening system, as they were replacing immersion coils and kettles every three months, and washing machines wouldn't last more than a couple of years!

Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:14 pm
by Margaid
Depending on the type of softener Lady A they regenerate the softening medium with a salt backwash which can leave traces of salt in the water. You're advised not to drink it - hence Marigold' separate tap in the kitchen. Our water from the borehole was alkaline and hard. We had a hot tub and it took a lot to get the Ph neutral. Huge water softener that would treat all the water for the cottage as well although it still wasn't installed when I moved out. Here I have an electric scale remover as the water isn't very hard - I was sceptical but it seems to work. Also an huge under sink filter to take out the chlorine (which you could taste even in strong coffee) and while I'm at it, the heavy metals including fluoride. I really miss the water from the borehole which was very pure and very cold. By the way, the butt by my back door takes the water from the air-conditioner in the garage - I have stuff out there that MUST be kept dry. The butt was emptied so I fill it using the hose and then, like Chris, leave it for a few days so the chlorine dissipates.

Re: Drought conditions

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:27 pm
by Marigold
You have to load water softeners with special salt, and the machine is programmed to switch itself on in the middle of the night and suck the water in the hot tank and elsewhere in the system through the container of salt. This happens every 3 days or so, depending on how hard the water is in your area and how much you use. It has a similar effect on the alkaline water to using decalcifying tablets in a washing machine or dishwasher etc. We have to use it with the Solartwin panels as otherwise they would quickly fur up and stop the water circulating though them. You can clean you teeth etc in the softened water if it comes to the bathroom basin but it does taste slightly salty, so for drinking it's best to use mains water. We put our mains water through a water filter jug first, which removes the chlorine, prevents the kettle furring up and also the chalky film which would otherwise form on the surface of cups of tea etc. It's beneficial in keeping pipes and machines clear of scale, but probably not a strong enough effect to damage them in the ways you describe. Certainly I noticed a big reduction in the amount of detergent and shampoo I needed to use when we got softer water, and when we go away to a hard water area it's amazing how difficult it seems, to get the soap to foam in the shower or bath. Our Whitchurch water comes direct from a chalk aquifer and is then stored in a water tower (after being treated with totally unnecessary chemicals) so it's very alkaline. I reckon that the cost of the softening salt is balanced by the reduction in other cleaning chemicals I would otherwise be discharging into the drain, but of course I'd rather live in a soft water area where nothing needed to be added to the water, and it might then be possible to re-use it on the garden.

If your water is extremely soft, LadyA, then it's the opposite of alkaline and will have a very low Ph. I bet you can grow lots of ericaceous, peat-loving plants that could only exist in pots in our chalky garden!