Mega Drought in California

California is in a mega drought which may last many more years.

How to respond to the looming specter of enduring drought in California is a controversial topic, subject to much debate and pontification on the part of pundits and politicians.  The first thing to do is to divide the debate into two parts, water conservation by individuals and conservation by farms.

Eighty percent of water used in California is by large agricultural corporations. We see a lot of sad stories about small farms who are losing their livelihood but in most cases it is a result of an unwillingness to change in the face of facts. Farmers have been overusing water for many years with methods like flood irrigation and choosing to grow the most water intensive crops possible. Now that we are drilling for water deeper and deeper, the realty that water is not an infinitely renewable resource has hit the farmers hard.

So while individual efforts to conserve water won’t have as much of an impact as say banning flood irrigation, it is still something everyone should think about and do because every little bit helps. A significant amount of water can be saved by upgrading or changing appliances. A more efficient toilet tank system can save a lot of water as well as a water saving clothes washer. Upgrading appliances can qualify you for a rebate.

There are also a lot of opportunities to save water outside.

  • Use mulch, a layer of groundcover evens out the soil temperature and increases water retention in the soil.
  • Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation instead of a normal sprinkler, this can save up to seventy percent.
  • Plant a tree, trees need less water than grass and they provide shade which reduces evaporation and keeps things cool.
  • Plant drought resistant varieties of plants instead of water hungry grass.
  • Get a timer for the watering system and water at night or early morning to reduce evaporation from the hot sun.
  • If you have a lawn keep the grass long so the roots stay shaded and need less water.
  • Use a broom to clean patios instead of a hose.

We are currently experiencing the worst drought in 1200 years and indications are that it won’t end for 10-20 years. In light of that sobering forecast, we all need to do our part to save water.

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Tips on Bathroom remodeling

Tips on Bathroom remodeling.

Perhaps you have just moved into a new house and the previous owner was not big on cleaning the bathroom. Perhaps the shower head is too low and showering requires bending over. Maybe you just need to remodel the bathroom for a change of pace. Or the previous owner has installed the toilet in an inappropriate place.

 

General tips:

Decide on the materials and allow time for delivery. To get the best prices on materials, comparison shopping is key and things like countertops and tile will take a week or two to be delivered. Wait until you have everything before starting construction.

Create in shower storage. You have the chance to start from scratch so avoid buying a shower caddie later and make a shelf for shampoos right in the shower.

Install a curved shower rod or frameless shower door. Curved shower rods with steel curtain rings look better and are available in different finishes.( http://www.tashmanhomecenter.com/52-72IN-CURVED-CURTIN-ROD-VB-p/0228379.htm)

Update the lighting. Put a small floodlight in the shower and get a nice new vanity light for over the sink. The style and amount of light can really change the feel of a room.

Use caulking with mold control. Choose an acrylic caulk or hybrid with mold control which can be easily replaced and will obviously reduce the chance of mold.

Place towel bars and grab bars at appropriate heights.  A horse jockey and an NBA player are going to want to have towel bars at different heights.

Calculate the household water usage and make sure the hot water heater is big enough. Here are the rough water usage rates for the bathroom.

toilet

 

Showering: 12 gallons per person
Bathing: 9 gallons a person
Shampooing hair: 4 gallons a person
Washing hands and face: 4 gallons a person
Shaving: 2 gallons a person

 

There are three basic types of material for bathroom counters. Natural stone is the nicest and most expensive but must be sealed and is difficult to get in odd shapes. Resin is a very durable material that is not very costly and can be easily made to any shape. Laminate is very cheap and doesn’t last very long, particularly in a bathroom because laminate doesn’t do well with moisture.

It is important to get a vent that is right for the size of the bathroom. Good circulation is necessary to avoid mold and see yourself in the mirror.