Drought conditions

The place to chat, fluff your feathers, and let off steam!
User avatar
LadyA
Full Member
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 9:15 am

Drought conditions

Post by LadyA » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:21 pm

We've had no rain at all since end of May/beginning of June, and none forecast for at least the next ten days to two weeks. The Govt. have declared drought conditions, and introduced a hosepipe ban in several areas, and are rolling it out countrywide. They are also appealing to people to conserve water.
I tend to be conservative in water use anyway, being on a well. It's never run dry (except those times my poor alzheimer's stricken husband turned on the garden hose and then walked away and left it running! Several times in one week!), but I have the vegetable garden, and the polytunnel to water. All the fruit trees have to take it in turns! I used to, years ago, harvest rainwater in water butts, then bucket it from there into two big holding tanks (the size of large oil tanks), but then, when I needed it, it was so hard to get it back out! I had to get a step ladder, climb on to the tank, and lift it out using a bucket on a rope! So, tbh, with our recent wet Summers, I gave up. Hadn't time for gardening anyway, as husband deteriorated.

Now though. :( Boy, am I kicking myself! There was only about 300/400 litres left in one tank, the other was empty. And I had bought, a couple of months ago, a portable water pump from Lidl. You just connect a hose, plug it in, and away you go! So, this evening, I've pumped out the tank onto the fruit trees, and hope that will do them until we get rain. And I can tell you this: I've also been looking around here, and checking where I can put guttering and downpipes. The very large, roofed, chicken run for example! There will be guttering & rain barrels there before Winter! And both storage tanks (and another, if I can get hold of one!) will be set up waiting to be filled. The rain barrels that were removed from the house downpipes will be set back up.

We are absolutely spoiled in this country as regards natural resources. I'm just sickened this week by seeing the response of people to the genuine (and very real) worry of farmers. The grass is not growing. They are already using up what fodder they have managed to start putting by for next Winter, and this, after a Winter that lasted nine months here! They weren't able to put cattle out in fields here until mid April, because the fields were water logged. And idiots are saying "farmers never happy!" They just can't seem to make the connection between farmers and their own food! It all just appears on supermarket shelves, by magic, already wrapped in plastic! :roll: They certainly can't make any connection between weather and rising food prices. Why should they pay more?!

Oh, the density of people would make you mad!
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
bigjim
Forum Contributor / Grower
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:57 pm

Re: Drought conditions

Post by bigjim » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:39 pm

Mad isn't it, considering spring hardly got here by may. I do some volunteering down my local football club and at the end of the season we did some maintenance on the pitch. Well the sprinklers have been on ever since. Watered the grass seed to make it grow, now if we turn them off it'll all go yellow.
Three barrels in need of filling.
User avatar
Hen-Gen
Full Member
Posts: 351
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 5:12 pm

Re: Drought conditions

Post by Hen-Gen » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:09 am

Same here, LadyA. An unprecedented drought beyond living memory. We didn't even have those downpours that you had in late May. And then next ten day forecast shows continuing dryness. Something I have never seen before is patches of grass dying and yellow wherever the drainage is good.
My mate down island has a number of lochans on his farm and they are at a lower level than he has ever known. Carrying drums of water out to his cows each day.
It is a worrying time for farmers particularly with Brexit looming. I can see us relying more and more on imported food with much agricultural land falling out of use. This may be good for conservation but it's a he'll of a price to pay. Depopulation of island communities is already a serious problem. Of 64 inhabited islands in Scotland 49 have lower populations than the last census.
It can't be denied that farmers do have a tendency to cry wolf whatever challenge presents itself but this time it is real. If substantial rain does not come soon then this years silage and hay cuts will be down and next winters feed will be in short supply. Margins are thin in any case with many farmers relying on grants and subsidies to get by.
Whether all this is connected with global warming remains to be seen. But the large seasonal variations that England has seen this year (remember that snow) may be a sign of things to come. Certainly our sea bird populations are crashing as their prey species move north to be in cooler water.
Realistically I expect that in due course we'll all be complaining about the unending rain, bedraggled chickens and muddy drives.
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 5836
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Drought conditions

Post by Marigold » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:32 pm

Our garden looked beautiful in May, up until the drought started. Now it's all hanging by a dessicated thread, and I'm concerned about keeping the balance between giving some special newly-planted trees and areas the water they need, and following advice to minimise water usage. We have a large pond, which last year was kept topped up by a system of water butts and hoses which take water collected from the house roofs direct to the pond. This year, the storage butts were soon empty and not refilled. Topping up with tap water isn't good for the water quality, but there's too much wildlife dependent on the pond to let it get too low. And as we're on a water meter, to give the whole garden even half of what it needs would be prohibitively expensive,.
Sorry to hear about the seriousness of the drought in the Northern Isles, HenGen - not the sort of area one expects it, especially as I've been looking longingly at the comparatively refreshing low temperatures shown for you on the weather forecasts. Down here in Hampshire, we're battling on here with total lack of rain plus daily temperatures of up to 30C, which I find very wearing, especially as the air quality is poor with a lot of dust and pollen - not good for asthmatics.
User avatar
chrismahon
Forum Guru / Wise Bird
Posts: 4870
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 10:29 am

Re: Drought conditions

Post by chrismahon » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:12 pm

Sounds like your UK weather is pretty much the same as here, but here it is the normal. All house water is mains metered and it's about the same price as England- expensive! Wells here are unreliable and slow to fill and usually the best delivery will be 1000L a week- we have one next to the house but can't open it up as it is too close to the septic tank soakaways (regulations require 30 metres and it is just 10). We have 2000L of storage but most of that was 30 years of rotting sludge (leaves) so we've cleaned the tanks out completely and are now waiting for rain. The promised overnight didn't arrive so we are waiting for the thunderstorms today, but it looks like they will miss us as well. So we'll be filling one 1000L tank with tap water and waiting 4 days for the Chlorine to come out before using it on the vegetables. Unfortunately the lawns and fruit trees will just have to suffer.

I thought you couldn't use a hosepipe in England at all now unless you are on a water meter?
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 5836
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Drought conditions

Post by Marigold » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:51 pm

I've never heard that, Chris. We opted for a water meter some years ago, realising that our water bills were otherwise bound to be sky high because the water company wasn't going to risk making a loss, however much we used. The bills immediately fell by more than 1/3, so it was worth it, besides the feeling that it was fair to pay for what we actually used, just as with the other utilities.
We have solar panels on our roof, which generate about £500 a year towards our power bills, about 50%. So far we've resisted the calls to have a smart meter installed because the meter we have has been in the house since it was built in the 1930s, and obligingly it runs backwards when the panels are generating units of electricity, thus doubling the profit per unit. I have told the company about this, so if they don't do anything about it, that's up to them.
User avatar
Hen-Gen
Full Member
Posts: 351
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 5:12 pm

Re: Drought conditions

Post by Hen-Gen » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:44 pm

Ah, power. A neighbour applied to put up a wind generator 250 metres down the lane but it was refused because it was on the flight path of some phalaropes that breed on the mires just opposite. But the RSPB said they would have no objection if he moved it 50 metres up the lane. That then placed it within 250 metres of my house giving me the legal right to object to it. Therefore in order to assuage any objection I may have (not that I would have as I believe in alternative power generation and it can't be seen from my house) he has offered me free electricity.
Can't complain at that!
bigyetiman
Full Member
Posts: 542
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 8:27 pm

Re: Drought conditions

Post by bigyetiman » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:01 pm

Win win there Hen Gen.
Our garden and locality in general is heavy clay which is so dried out with large deep cracks it strongly resembles the limestone pavement at Malham.
Ironically the farmer who farms the fields opposite was a month late planting his barley because the ground was too wet. The hay making is going well round here and they reckon it's the best ever, certainly smells fantastic in our neighbours barn, 2000 bales in so far.
We have had a spate of idiots setting light to hay bales and cut hay in fields by pouring petrol everywhere.
As it is so hot we have been allowed to wear shorts and loosen ties.
User avatar
LadyA
Full Member
Posts: 375
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 9:15 am

Re: Drought conditions

Post by LadyA » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:10 am

Well, farmers here were already hit with having had to import fodder in "Spring", as we had such heavy snow in March that the fields were far too wet to put animals on, and it was far too cold anyway. Nothing was growing. So a lot of farms ran out of what they had stored. Now, they are already having to use what they had started to store for the coming Winter, because grass isn't growing, and is burnt & brown in the fields. On my front lawn, you can now clearly see where the springs run underneath, as there are occasional green patches in the brown! I'm over 19 years in this house, and this is the first time that the hill to the main road has been completely dry! There's a spring that normally comes up at one side and flows across the road, but although it's still running, it's not enough to come over the road at the moment. I'm using my well for watering the veg, on the basis that, here on my own, I don't use much water otherwise. Washing up water, cooking water etc. all gets emptied into a bucket and used on the garden too.
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
Margaid
Full Member
Posts: 1064
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:27 pm

Re: Drought conditions

Post by Margaid » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:20 pm

Well that's torn it! The water has gone off without any warning. One of my neighbours said the water board have been further up the main road all day and they had one of the emergency tankers. It now transpires they have a serious leak (having just caused havoc relaying the water main) and it has drained the reservoir. I don't know how big the reservoir is but it is fed by a number of boreholes. I assume they can turn off the outflow to this particular main so that it can fill up again. Anyway it looks like there'll be no water until the morning at best.
Post Reply

Return to “The Dustbath”