The Panhandle’s hard water makes great coffee. Our hard water contains “sticky” minerals like calcium and magnesium, while the coffee beans contain compounds like citric acid, lactic acid, and eugenol (a compound that adds a “woodsy” taste) that give coffee its distinct flavor and aroma. The minerals stick, or attract, the compounds while brewing providing more flavor to the coffee.
Its harvest time for all those rain-barrel-watered garden veggies.
Save water during cooking by rinsing the produce in a large bowl of water and gently scrubbing with a veggie brush. Steam the veggies instead of boiling – it preserves nutrients in addition to water. If you choose to boil, use the minimum amount of water and save it to water plants later.
And to preserve fruits and veggies, eat them in order, starting with the things that will go bad the soonest:
First: bananas, berries, cherries, kiwis, avocado, spinach, lettuce, and grapes
Second: tomatoes, mango, peaches, pears, melon, apricots, and zucchini
Third: cucumbers, pineapple, and pomegranates
Last: carrots, potatoes, celery, apples, grapefruit, and oranges
Photo © Liz Van Steenburgh
The average US family of four generates 300 loads of laundry a year and uses 6,000-12,000 gallons of water to get them clean. Depending on the efficiency of the washer, each load uses 15 gallons (high-efficiency front load) to 40 gallons (traditional top load with vertical agitator) of water.
Save water by washing only full loads and save energy by using cold water and hanging your clothes out to dry instead of running them through the dryer.
Photo © Faidoi
While it’s unusual to get the amount of rain we had two weeks ago, it does remind us to take some flood precautions.
1. Basement windows or doors are common storm water entry points and should be sealed against leaks. Clear plastic covers or window wells that extend above ground level can help. Ideally, window and door sills should at least a foot above ground level.
2. Slope the yard away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling near the house and leaking into the basement. Create a rain garden or low basin landscaped with shrubs and flowers to encourage water to soak into the ground.
3. Eliminate paved surfaces where possible and consider alternatives that allow water to soak into the ground. Consider porous concrete or porous pavers for driveways. Gravel or woodchips for walking paths.
4. Aim downspouts toward the lawn and away from the foundation and paved surfaces. Consider using cisterns or rain barrels to catch rainwater for watering lawns and gardens in dry weather.
Photo: Creative Commons
Use an adjustable shut-off nozzle which can be down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed. Turn it of at the faucet instead of the nozzle when finished to avoid leaks.
Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.
Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. 600 gallons or more can flow in only a few hours. Set a shut-off reminder to turn it off.
Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.
Install ornamental water features, like fountains, only if the water is recycled.
Photo: © Creative Commons Zero (CC0)
Consider these tips from conserveh20.org as you prep the sprinkler system for the season for effective and efficient watering.
1. Look for signs of leakage, especially damage to sprinkler heads or piping which could have occurred over the winter. Repair and replace as needed.
2. Look for accurate spray patterns. Adjust your sprinkler heads so they water your landscape and not sidewalks or pavement. Also make sure their spray isn’t blocked by plants or other materials.
3. Clean clogged nozzles and sprinkler heads.
4. Install a rain sensor. Rain sensors are designed to shut off sprinkler systems when rainfall reaches a preset amount, usually 1/4 inch. Once the moisture level subsides, the sensor re-enables the sprinkler system, resuming the previous watering schedule. Rain sensors should be mounted in an unobstructed area exposed to open sky – minimizing the potential for fallen leaves or other debris from blocking the sensor.
Recent research suggests rain harvesting may have provided the 800 Roman soliders manning Hadrian’s Fort with 10 liters (2.62 gallons) of drinking water per per capita per day during their deployment.
Evidence at Hadrian’s Fort, a strategic Roman outpost along Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, indicates building rooftops were constructed to capture rainfall. The runoff collected in stone-lined tanks, two to six tanks per key building, capable of holding 2 cubic meters (about 528 gallons) of water each.
It’s an amazing feat of foresight, considering Hadrian’s Fort has no internal springs or wells, access to springs or waterways in the region, and an aqueduct supply would have been extremely impractical.
Photo by David Ross
Hadrian’s Wall at Steel Rigg
Twice Brewed, Northumberland, England
To grow, process and transport food requires a lot of water. Consequently, eating lower on the food chain, consuming whole foods and wasting less food, also saves water.
To learn more about the water required to produce our food check out the water calculator:
Capetown’s crisis is in the spotlight now, but other metropolitan areas could soon follow: