"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
March 25, 2015
Time for New Habits
by Carolyn Nicolaysen

The drought on the West Coast of the United States has not ended. Please continue to pray for rain in California. The year 2013 was so dry mandatory water conservation orders began sweeping across the state of California. The governor declared an ďextreme drought emergency.Ē

Everyone in the state was ordered to cut water consumption by 20%. The northern Sierra Nevada, a region crucial to statewide supply, received only 10% of average snowfall in December. Reservoir levels were 30-40% of normal.

Fast forward one year. Water conservation has increased with little to no measurable rainfall since December. Snow pack in the Sierra is 10% of normal, meaning there is virtually no snow to melt and replenish reservoirs this spring and summer.

One community is already without water in their homes, as their reservoir has been drained to supply drinking water to metropolitan areas. Thousands of wells are drying up, leaving even more families with no water in their homes.

But this is not just about California. Please review the Nauvoo Times article How Does the California Drought Affect You.

This article may not apply to you, but all of the west coast states, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa are all experiencing drought conditions. California is by far in the worst position, but everyone needs to practice good habits, starting now.

As California, Las Vegas and others run out of water they will be looking to other states for help in meeting their needs. Conservation is important no matter where you may live. Take time to implement water-saving practices now.

Laundry Room

  1. Use washing machine for full loads only.

  2. Install a water-efficient clothes washer. Save: 16 Gallons/Load

  3. Washing all clothes in cold water saves water and helps your clothes retain their color.

Kitchen

  1. Run the dishwasher only when full.

  2. Install a water- and energy-efficient dishwasher. Save: 3 to 8 Gallons/Load.

  3. When washing dishes by hand, donít let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water. Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand.

  4. If possible, cut back on rinsing before loading the dishwasher.

  5. Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scour them clean.

  6. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.

  7. Use a bowl in the kitchen sink†so you use less water when washing dishes or vegetables. When youíre done, use the (cooled) water for your plants or garden, or even to rinse cans and bottles before recycling them.†

  8. Donít use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator, microwave or a pan of hot water.

  9. Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running water each time you want a drink.

  10. Cooking food in as little water as possible saves water and preserves nutrients.

  11. Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary.

  12. If you accidentally drop ice cubes or if they are old, donít throw them in the sink. Use them to water a houseplant.

  13. Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.

  14. When cooking use water twice. Cook your pasta and when you drain it drain the water into another pot. Use this water to cook your veggies.

  15. Always use a lid on everything you cook. Donít lose precious water to steam.

  16. Cover foods being cooked with only enough water to cover the uncooked items. Add more as needed.

Bathroom

  1. Install low-flow showerheads.

  2. Take five-minute showers instead of 10-minute showers.

  3. Fill the bathtub halfway or less.

  4. When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.

  5. Take a (short) shower instead of a bath. A bathtub can use up to 70 gallons of water.

  6. Use water left in tub to wash the dog, wash window blinds, or scoop out and water plants.

  7. Consider bathing small children together.

  8. Place five-gallon bucket in the shower to catch water while it warms up. Use it to water plants.

  9. Install a high-efficiency toilet or dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste.

  10. Place plastic bottle filled with water in the tank to reduce water used per flush. Do not use a brick.

  11. Don't use the toilet to flush facial tissues.

  12. Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, thereís a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.

  13. Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor.

  14. Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth while waiting for water to get hot; then wash or shave after filling the basin. If your water takes a long time to heat up place a wet washcloth on a space heater, when appropriate, to heat the towel and use it to wash your face.

  15. Turn off the water while washing your hair.

  16. When adjusting water temperatures, instead of turning water flow up, try turning it down. If the water is too hot, turn down the hot rather than turning up the cold.

Miscellaneous

  1. Check that your home is leak-free. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period during which you are certain that no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

  2. Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can waste 2,700 gallons per year.

  3. Insulate water pipes to reduce the time it takes for hot water to flow.

  4. Do not use water softeners. If you must, then turn them off when away from home for more than a day.

  5. Check your pump. If you have a well at your home, listen to see if the pump kicks on and off while the water is not in use. If it does, you have a leak.

  6. Install aerators on all faucets and showerheads to reduce flow.

  7. Use cups with straws or reusable water bottles instead of glasses. Think about it. When you go to the sink to fill a glass or fill glasses for dinner do you drink all you have pour or do you pour what is left down the drain? With a covered cup or water bottle you can take the remaining water with you to drink later.

Saving Water Outdoors

  1. Use a timer when watering to avoid overwatering.

  2. Don't overwater your lawn. On average, lawns only need watering every 5 to 7 days in summer and every 10 to 14 days in winter. Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest.

  3. Don't water your street, driveway, or sidewalk. Be sure sprinklers water only lawns and shrubs ó not paved areas.

  4. Install sprinklers that are the most appropriate for the job. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are water-efficient methods of irrigation.

  5. Regularly check sprinkler systems and timing devices to be sure they are operating properly.

  6. Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better.

  7. Avoid over-fertilizing. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water. The best fertilizers are slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.

  8. Mulch around garden plants and around plants in containers. Mulching 2-3 inches helps retain moisture in the soil and control weeds that steal water from plants. Mulch doesnít have to be expensive. Use pebbles, gravel, chipped bark, grass clippings, leaves, even newspaper.

  9. Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently and they usually will survive a dry period without any watering.

  10. Group plants together based on similar water needs.

  11. Water selectively; focus on more vulnerable or new plants, or ones with wilting leaves. Water directly using micro sprinklers or water by hand. Water after sunset or before sunrise and donít forget to water the leaves as well as the roots. Leaves drink in water and keep foliage healthy.

  12. Watering less often but for a longer period of time. Frequent watering encourages roots to stay near the surface instead of going deep down in search of water.

  13. Plant in the ground†and avoid baskets and pots during a drought. These need watering much more often.

  14. Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom to clean leaves and other debris from these areas. Water brooms can use as little as 2.8 gallons per minute while a standard hose typically uses 5 to 20 gpm.

  15. Use a nozzle on hoses that can be adjusted down to a fine spray so that water flows only as needed.

  16. Turn off water at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks.

  17. Replace hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.

  18. Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hoses can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours, so don't leave the sprinkler running all day. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off.

  19. Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.

  20. Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass to do so.

  21. Avoid the installation of ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless the water is recycled.

  22. If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter. A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses from 180 to 250 gallons or more of water.

  23. Keep pool covered when not in use to avoid evaporation.

  24. Get a rainwater butt and connect it to the downpipe from your roof gutters to capture any rainfall to use in watering your garden.

Continue to prepare for food shortages and high prices as you conserve water and please pray for rain.

For weekly food storage suggestions and preparedness tips please like Carolynís Totally Ready Facebook page For additional help contact Carolyn at Carolyn@TotallyReady.com


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About Carolyn Nicolaysen

Carolyn Nicolaysen grew up in New Jersey and joined the Church while attending Central College in Pella, Iowa. With a degree in Home Economics, she later worked as a high school teacher, and served as an elected trustee of her local school board. Carolyn has taught personal and family preparedness to all who will listen. Having lived in areas that were threatened by winter storms, hurricanes and tornadoes, and now living in an earthquake prone area, she has developed a passion for preparedness. Carolyn started her own business, TotallyReady, when she saw the need for higher quality emergency information that could truly sustain families in a disaster.

Carolyn is FEMA trained and is an Amateur Radio first responder. She serves as Relief Society president of her California ward.

Carolyn is the author of three ebooks, Mother Hubbard, What She's Doing Now (food storage for the 21st century), Prep Not Panic (preparing for a pandemic of medical emergency) and That Won't Happen to Me (a discussion of disaster preparations). She has also authored a glove box book, Totally Ready for the Road and writes a monthly newsletter and the Totally Ready facebook page.

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