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updated: Feb 03, 2014, 8:30 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Since our rainfall is so meager, does anyone know anything about cisterns so we can harvest whatever rainwater we get?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 491707 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 08:38 AM

Look up Sweetwater Collaborative. This group in Santa Barbara has a wealth of information on rainwater harvesting and gray water usage. I just found them and I'm considering setting something up for myself. They also have workshops that I may attend.


 COMMENT 491710 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 08:54 AM

Search: "What is Rainwater Harvesting?" for some interesting and informative reading, the pros, cons, how to and government regulations. Yes, government rules, permits, restrictions and more.

It IS time we had intelligent discussion about how to live in harmony with our natural resource(s). People do it all over the world, in places with less rain than here, and places with more rainfall because it's not that difficult and it's the right thing to do.

We live in an area with 300 cloudless days each year and very few solar electric systems. A semi-arid climate with frequent droughts and serious waste of water. Why?


 COMMENT 491711 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 08:57 AM

Drought= Over! Woo hoo


 COMMENT 491713 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 09:13 AM

Santa Barbara Permaculture group:
*check out links for many passive energy- and water-saving strategies, and notices of workshops you could take. The group meets monthly in SB.

Rainwater harvest video:
*he has many videos on his website and also shows his books which are 'bibles' for saving energy and water. Though he lives in Tucson, the strategies will work here.

Keep looking and talking to folks who have rainwater cache systems. Let us know how you progress.


 COMMENT 491720 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 09:37 AM

with as little rain that we received yesterday, we were able to fill 5, 15 gal. trash cans of rain water. just placed them under the down spouts. works great !!! and cheap. been doing it for years !!!


 COMMENT 491728 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 10:10 AM

Driving to work this morning, I saw many lawns being watered with automatic sprinklers. How wonderful to see so many homeowners caring about the appearance of their front yards.


 COMMENT 491729P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 10:12 AM

711, don't jump the gun! This was NOT enough rain to say the drought is over!


 COMMENT 491738P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 10:44 AM

729P: I think 711 was making a joke; i.e., less than a 10th of an inch = drought over.


 COMMENT 491740 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 10:50 AM

710: Interesting thing you said there:

"We live in an area with 300 cloudless days each year and very few solar electric systems".

34 years ago, one of the the first actions of the Reagan presidency in 1980 was, in a highly publicized media-event, to rip out the solar-powered water-heating panels that the Carter administration had installed on the White House roof, virtually declaring that solar power was "hippy technology" and environmentalism as "anti-American" (!). The nation's right wing instantly latched on, and since then we've been on our knees in front of big oil, even wasting trillions of dollars and the lives of thousands of American troops to prop up the fossil fuel scam.

Imagine how much further ahead we could have been in the energy stakes, absent that destructive and highly influential act?


 COMMENT 491756 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 11:21 AM

716, if you're so against government subsidies, how about removing *all* corporate welfare programs - including never *EVER* again bailing out serial criminal entities in the banking and financial sector?

You are so absolutely wrong about solar. The Sun will be providing 100+ watts per square meter of the earth's surface for the next 4+ billion years - the most reliable and continuous source of power we have. It is up to humanity to develop and harness it to the best of our abilities, as it's about the only and best chance we have left.

The survival of the species and our habitat is, IMHO, an infinite number of times more urgent than a temporary violation of the illusive, so-called "free market"... which, incidentally doesn't exist - it is a utopian figment of the capitalists' imagination.


 COMMENT 491765P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 11:47 AM

"Solar power is growing so fast in California — with installations by customers increasing tenfold since 2006 — that it is turning the state’s power system upside down.

With so many solar panels in California, “we may find ourselves in periods of time when we have oversupply, overgeneration,” said Clyde Loutan, senior adviser for renewables integration at the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s grid. That is just as destabilizing as shortage, he said."


Some of the most important technological advances have been subsidized by the govt, but we never hear about oil company subsidies, and others.

Budget hawks: Does US need to give gas and oil companies $41 billion a year?



 COMMENT 491766P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 11:49 AM

Yep, free market! Oil Industry should not be taking $40 billion a year in subsidies if they were true believers of the free market. Over 20 years, that is $800 billion.


 COMMENT 491767 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 11:52 AM

Water is a regulated utility so you cannot just raise rates. The effect of doing so would cause a domino effect of price hikes, such as rents and most locally sourced retail items. Beside, most water is consumed by agriculture, which is subsidized heavily. Remove those subsidies and food prices will skyrocket.

The market is complex and you cannot simply change one thing without vast implications. Consider UCSB: Do you think students, who don't see the utility bills, will use less water if it were more expensive? And yet their tuition would be raised next year to pay for it. This year, on-campus students would see no direct impact and usage would not change due to the hikes.


 COMMENT 491768P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 11:53 AM

Every energy source in the last 400 years of U.S. history has been subsidized. Should we encourage or kill subsidies for energy?

Eric Wesoff October 4, 2011
Energy sources, from coal to oil and gas to nuclear, have all been subsidized over the last 400 years in the U.S. and elsewhere. By most metrics, renewable energy sources have received far less in subsidies in their early years than any of these other energy sources.

Pfund said, “All new energy industries -- timber, coal, oil and gas, nuclear -- have received substantial government support at a pivotal time in their early growth, creating millions of jobs and significant economic growth," adding, “Subsidies for these ‘traditional’ energy sources were many, many times what we are spending today on renewables."



 COMMENT 491774P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 12:08 PM

Solar isn't inefficient in the technical sense, only in the practical sense. It could be extremely efficient since the source is so persistent and pervasive. It's the principal power source for the space program-- it's not like no one knows how to use solar, but there are these "barriers" to making a technology change here on earth. Anyway, gasoline is subsidized, too. Oil is about the most heavily subsidized of anything: cf our persistent national "war" footing, not to mention "public/private partnerships" and overt subsidies. In any case I support some subsidies in the public interest.

God made the world, and put a great flaming sun in the sky to give the world light, heat and energy for billions of years. So what do people do? They chip away at the planet so they can burn it and suck out oil and gas to burn it and God looks down and says, hey, get with the program, I gave you those big brains, now use 'em, but mostly we just hang our laundry out to dry or take a seat in the sun, same as cave men did. And God's like, did I need to make it more obvious? Sheesh.


 COMMENT 491787 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 12:24 PM

Solar makes zero economic sense. For a typical 2200 sq ft house it would cost me $30,000 to install solar! And it would only take care of 60% of my usage. That means it would take me about 14-15 yrs to make up that 30k this does not include any maintenance cost. What a joke solar is now.


 COMMENT 491792P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 12:43 PM

For me personally, solar makes little economic sense - because I use so little. However, when it is cheap enough I would like to go solar, just for the knowledge that I am not dependent on anyone else.

But for large buildings, offices, etc - it makes a lot of sense, and that is what is happening in CA and all over the world, including China.


 COMMENT 491858 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 02:52 PM

California's water & power are some of the most heavily subsidized infrastructure in the U.S.

1) 19% of electricity in CA is to move, lift, and heat water
2) Hoover Dam, largest reservoir in the U.S., gives 5% of CA's electricity (heavily subsidized)
3) The California State Water Project is the largest multipurpose, state-built water project in the U.S. (heavily subsidized)
4) The Central Valley Project is one of the largest water systems (heavily subsidized) in the world 5) Large hydropower in CA accounts for almost 15% of power generation in CA (heavily subsidized).

Rooftop should be scaled up -- and SUBSIDIZED -- to offset potential losses from hydropower if the drought continues. It's cheaper (counting original subsidies to the power grid) and more efficient to generate power where it's used.

Subsidizing infrastructure...it's how the West was won!!


 COMMENT 491877 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 04:15 PM

I am amazed as to the direction of the comments on this post; going from water collection, to oil, solar and beyond.


 COMMENT 491880 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 04:26 PM

787: Your numbers simply don't add up. I know several people who are generating enough power for 100% of their household electricity plus 1 or 2 electric cars from their rooftop solar. Maybe you need to learn to conserve energy?


 COMMENT 491882 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 04:28 PM

Solar has one serious handicap. It doesn't produce energy when it is dark. Other power generators still must have the production capacity as though solar did not exist. Conventional solar cells are only about 12% efficient in converting solar energy into electricity. The quoted watts of incident solar radiation are based on the peak direct noontime illumination. Still solar is a valued contributor but it can never produce a high fraction of our energy needs.


 COMMENT 491885 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 04:33 PM

Let them drink wine...subsidized by CA water rate payers everywhere.


 COMMENT 491890P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 04:43 PM

877 - does not matter. There is something to learn from many of the comments.


 COMMENT 491893 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 05:22 PM

877 is not taking into effect how much rates could rise. Who says the cost of electricity will stay the same? The loss of hydropower and San Onofre going offline are two near term events that could drive rates up making homescaled solar have a faster ROI and also provide energy security.


 COMMENT 491931 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 07:36 PM

720, 5 15 gal cans is 75 gallons, or about the amount that you use in one day. It's not very much.

I got 30 gallons in on barrel and directed the other roof drains to percolate on my front mulch garden. Should help the plants a little.

About solar, someone came up with a good idea- use our electric cars to store energy during the day when the sun is out, and then draw from the batteries during the night. Some university back east is doing this with their fleet of cars to show how it works. Wave of the future.

Or we can turn out our streetlights and decrease the night requirements!


 COMMENT 491943 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-03 08:40 PM

877 has solar power, so rate increases will not affect me!


 COMMENT 492292 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-05 12:17 PM

Rather unfortunate that Land Trust for Santa Barbara County colluded with Montecito Creek Water Company to continue taking more then it's water rights for watering a few lawns instead providing necessary water to steelhead habitat.


 COMMENT 492308 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-05 01:15 PM

How did this go form cisterns to solar?


 COMMENT 492489 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-06 09:35 AM

there will be a workshop on "saving fruit trees in times of drought", Feb 15th at Mesa Harmony Gardens put on by the local chptr of the Calif Rare Fruit Growers. Check out their facebook page for details.


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