Yes, it's still a drought (was: We are very much in a drought)

I went back and read it again.  The error is mine, not yours.  But even 25,000 I find to be excessive.  But to be fair, for a lawn I consider 5 gallons to be excessive.  Vegetables,  landscaping, I get some of that.  But grass, I don't get it.


Here is another drought strategy some may be able to use:

Do you have a sump pump in your basement?  Is it still putting out water these days?

Our sump is even now putting out more than 100 gallons of water per day (!)  We know this because we have attached a pipe to our sump which allows us to divert the water to a 50 gallon rain barrel in our back yard.  This barrel is STILL filling up at least twice a day.  We are using this to water various things using a watering can; also, we can attach a soaker hose to the spigot and water a section of lawn or around a tree.

I know not everyone has a sump.  But for those who do, why not try this approach?  It's free water.  It's not chlorinated, which your plants probably prefer.  It's better than (literally) letting it go down the drain.  Any excess will just soak into the ground and help recharge the water table.

Also, consider the volume of water here! This house may be unusual (are we living on a spring?) but I bet there are others like us in Maplewood/ South Orange .  100 gallons (minimally) X 365 days = 36,500 gallons!  A lot more than RTrent is using btw...


jspjnc said:

Here is another drought strategy some may be able to use:

Do you have a sump pump in your basement?  Is it still putting out water these days?

Our sump is even now putting out more than 100 gallons of water per day (!)  We know this because we have attached a pipe to our sump which allows us to divert the water to a 50 gallon rain barrel in our back yard.  This barrel is STILL filling up at least twice a day.  We are using this to water various things using a watering can; also, we can attach a soaker hose to the spigot and water a section of lawn or around a tree.

I know not everyone has a sump.  But for those who do, why not try this approach?  It's free water.  It's not chlorinated, which your plants probably prefer.  It's better than (literally) letting it go down the drain.  Any excess will just soak into the ground and help recharge the water table.

We are fortunate to have some gardenish areas in front of the house where I did just that. The pumped-out water was deposited 6 whole inches from the foundation. SMH. What were the prior owners thinking???

So, a little PVC pipe later and I could send the water to various places, anywhere from 5' to 10' away and where it is needed. Your system is putting out some serious volume. Nowhere near ours. Wow! Ours only runs like that after rains and snow melt.


I put a 5 gallon bucket underneath my window AC’s and let the condensation that drips from them into the bucket. I water my pots and flower boxes. Same thing with the basement dehumidifier.


The rain has started...


Showers likely today, and perhaps a thunderstorm this afternoon

Grass is one of those things that we've been bamboozled about for generations by advertising to think of as some kind of necessity.  We've shifted large sections of our lawn, front and back, to native wildflowers -   cheap (free basically after you seed or plant), virtually non-existent ongoing maintenance, and no need for chemicals.  And you  create an individual look with you selection and placement of the flowers.  


RTrent said:

What do they do? Water every day? Have humongous lawns?

I water once every four days, 1/2 in. Spring and Autumn, 3/4 in. Summer. My sprinklers use 22 to 24 thousand gallons a year. Total water usage is about 110,000 a year. 

My average sprinkler usage is less than 25% of my total water usage. But I don't water when it rains and even after rain may skip the next watering. 

Sometimes, I think these guys use selective statistics to prove a point. Or the up to 75% users are water hogs. Or up to means just that, the maximum for the hog users whereas the average user uses much less.

Its easy enough to figure out. Just look at the water bills which are usually quarterly.

I looked at my water bill and I use around 30,000 gallons per year. Are you growing corn in your yard, perchance?


ridski said:

I looked at my water bill and I use around 30,000 gallons per year. Are you growing corn in your yard, perchance?

I’m curious as to his pseg bill…


jspjnc said:

Here is another drought strategy some may be able to use:

Do you have a sump pump in your basement?  Is it still putting out water these days?

Our sump is even now putting out more than 100 gallons of water per day (!)  We know this because we have attached a pipe to our sump which allows us to divert the water to a 50 gallon rain barrel in our back yard.  This barrel is STILL filling up at least twice a day.  We are using this to water various things using a watering can; also, we can attach a soaker hose to the spigot and water a section of lawn or around a tree.

I know not everyone has a sump.  But for those who do, why not try this approach?  It's free water.  It's not chlorinated, which your plants probably prefer.  It's better than (literally) letting it go down the drain.  Any excess will just soak into the ground and help recharge the water table.

Also, consider the volume of water here! This house may be unusual (are we living on a spring?) but I bet there are others like us in Maplewood/ South Orange .  100 gallons (minimally) X 365 days = 36,500 gallons!  A lot more than RTrent is using btw...

Our sump pumps have been very quiet recently and they definitely get a workout during normal times.


ridski said:

RTrent said:

What do they do? Water every day? Have humongous lawns?

I water once every four days, 1/2 in. Spring and Autumn, 3/4 in. Summer. My sprinklers use 22 to 24 thousand gallons a year. Total water usage is about 110,000 a year. 

My average sprinkler usage is less than 25% of my total water usage. But I don't water when it rains and even after rain may skip the next watering. 

Sometimes, I think these guys use selective statistics to prove a point. Or the up to 75% users are water hogs. Or up to means just that, the maximum for the hog users whereas the average user uses much less.

Its easy enough to figure out. Just look at the water bills which are usually quarterly.

I looked at my water bill and I use around 30,000 gallons per year. Are you growing corn in your yard, perchance?

We use about 60k - 70k gallons a year for all of our household water needs. We don't water our lawn at all.  (Edited to correct numbers after I received my latest bill today)


Max, thanks for this rain.  I really appreciate it.  And I was very fortunate that my son caught our new dog chewing on my rainwater barrel connection lines this morning, so I was able to fix them before losing  too much water.


Got asked this this morning, thought it might be of wider interest, "Hi, I posted a meteorological question on Soma Lounge and was directed here. I was wondering what the macro causes of our drought are. For instance, why have there been so few tropical storms? And why are the onshore breezes having such a large effect on storms this year? Just curious..."

I answered, "Although it may sound mundane, the proximate cause of the drought is dry air and a resulting lack of rain. There is variation in the normal rain cycle from year to year and there have been droughts similar to this in 2000, 2016, and two years ago. 2002 was the last time, I think, there were widespread mandatory restrictions, although the 2016 drought was as bad as this one.

"I think what makes this year stand out is the perception of the drought we have. A greater awareness of climate change, coupled with the recent exceptional heat wave, is possibly raising anxiety levels (which are already high due to non-weather factors). Perhaps many of us are still rather new to home ownership as well; a drought would have been simply less noticed in Brooklyn. But I have no data to support that theory.

"The dry air is also affecting the tropical Atlantic, but the most active part of the Atlantic storm season is just starting up and so far this year has not been a major outlier."


This is a great rain! Earlier this morning I thought it might be another bust, as it was barely sprinkling and other than streets being wet, there wasn't much going on. But it's been really coming down for a while now. 


bub said:

Grass is one of those things that we've been bamboozled about for generations by advertising to think of as some kind of necessity.  We've shifted large sections of our lawn, front and back, to native wildflowers -   cheap (free basically after you seed or plant), virtually non-existent ongoing maintenance, and no need for chemicals.  And you  create an individual look with you selection and placement of the flowers.  

I'm less than a year into home ownership, so still working out my outdoor-space strategy (something I expect to be a years-long project). I do want to get more native plants in, but I think lawn has a place too -- I want space for high traffic/recreation space, which grass is good for. This year I've been cutting the grass pretty high and mulching it, which seems to be working well enough (and only a bit of watering with a hose last few weeks when it's been so dry).

There's some extensive landscaping in the front that I'd like to scale back in size, and replacing some of the plants with more native varieties. The more I can get plants that can fend for themselves with minimal work from me the better ;-)


jspjnc said:

Here is another drought strategy some may be able to use:

Do you have a sump pump in your basement?  Is it still putting out water these days?

Our sump is even now putting out more than 100 gallons of water per day (!)  We know this because we have attached a pipe to our sump which allows us to divert the water to a 50 gallon rain barrel in our back yard.  This barrel is STILL filling up at least twice a day.  We are using this to water various things using a watering can; also, we can attach a soaker hose to the spigot and water a section of lawn or around a tree.

I know not everyone has a sump.  But for those who do, why not try this approach?  It's free water.  It's not chlorinated, which your plants probably prefer.  It's better than (literally) letting it go down the drain.  Any excess will just soak into the ground and help recharge the water table.

Also, consider the volume of water here! This house may be unusual (are we living on a spring?) but I bet there are others like us in Maplewood/ South Orange .  100 gallons (minimally) X 365 days = 36,500 gallons!  A lot more than RTrent is using btw...

I think you definitely live near a spring.  Our sump pump has been dry for weeks. It's typically very active during rain storms or frequent rains.


max_weisenfeld said:

The NJDEP asked us to stop watering our lawns two weeks ago. For a conservative, you seem unduly eager for a government mandate rather than taking personal responsibility.

Weird that the above comment which is so factually wrong got so many likes.

DEP did not ask us to stop. They asked us to reduce. I posted a link to the DEP reduction request. Also, its obvious from my postings I'm not a conservative.


I don't know if the same pattern happened in MAPSO but over here in Millburn we had a brief light rain in the morning (about 1/4") then a break. Then a bit more rain (1/2") at 12 or so and sort of a break. Now we're getting a good soaking at around 3:45.

Does this pattern seem like something that will let more of the rain soak in instead of readily run off if we got it all at once?


I planted a bush yesterday digging down around 18".  The soil was powdery dry even at 18".  How much rain does it take to rehydrate 18" of dirt.


bub said:

Grass is one of those things that we've been bamboozled about for generations by advertising to think of as some kind of necessity.  We've shifted large sections of our lawn, front and back, to native wildflowers -   cheap (free basically after you seed or plant), virtually non-existent ongoing maintenance, and no need for chemicals.  And you  create an individual look with you selection and placement of the flowers.  

I quote Ivan Drago when it comes to my lawn "if it dies, it dies" because I'm not watering it. 


Two good soakings.  At least my yard will no longer spontaneously combust.


I think t john’s picture of the cacti is all mush now…


In case you were wondering, 1.05" in Eastern Maplewood

ETA that's the 24 hour number, total storm was 1.07"


Only 1/4 full on the water tanks.  Can we have some more, please?


This hurricane season has been quite calm. I was expecting more tropical storms, I’m not complaining, just an observation. I just hope it holds out.


Jaytee said:

This hurricane season has been quite calm. I was expecting more tropical storms, I’m not complaining, just an observation. I just hope it holds out.

Although it officially starts in June, the heavy period is normally from about now through early October, so we certainly aren't out of the woods yet.  But fingers crossed!


sac said:

Jaytee said:

This hurricane season has been quite calm. I was expecting more tropical storms, I’m not complaining, just an observation. I just hope it holds out.

Although it officially starts in June, the heavy period is normally from about now through early October, so we certainly aren't out of the woods yet.  But fingers crossed!

As long as they're smaller ones than last year. I'm still replacing stuff in my basement from Ida.


max_weisenfeld said:

Got asked this this morning, thought it might be of wider interest, "Hi, I posted a meteorological question on Soma Lounge and was directed here. I was wondering what the macro causes of our drought are. For instance, why have there been so few tropical storms? And why are the onshore breezes having such a large effect on storms this year? Just curious..."

I answered, "Although it may sound mundane, the proximate cause of the drought is dry air and a resulting lack of rain. There is variation in the normal rain cycle from year to year and there have been droughts similar to this in 2000, 2016, and two years ago. 2002 was the last time, I think, there were widespread mandatory restrictions, although the 2016 drought was as bad as this one.

"I think what makes this year stand out is the perception of the drought we have. A greater awareness of climate change, coupled with the recent exceptional heat wave, is possibly raising anxiety levels (which are already high due to non-weather factors). Perhaps many of us are still rather new to home ownership as well; a drought would have been simply less noticed in Brooklyn. But I have no data to support that theory.

"The dry air is also affecting the tropical Atlantic, but the most active part of the Atlantic storm season is just starting up and so far this year has not been a major outlier."

The broad jet pattern over the US has caused the drought — predominant ridging over the country has precluded rainfall. This pattern has also kept conditions over the Atlantic unfavorable, not so much any dry air. 


Jaytee said:

This hurricane season has been quite calm. I was expecting more tropical storms, I’m not complaining, just an observation. I just hope it holds out.

Looks like it’s about to start 


Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe and hemisphere ...

Coming up! A wetter than average spring


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