It is so dry here lately that two of my neighbors recently commented that they spent more on their water bills last month than their electric bills. That is impressive given the sheer number of 100+ degree days and the fact that AC aint cheap in that kind of weather.
We haven't crossed that line, as evidenced by the color of our lawn. Or what is left of our lawn. We have an inground sprinkler system, but large swaths of our grass are still dying because we water for only 15 minutes every other day (an excessive amount, in my opinion...if I have to have grass I would prefer it stay nice with maybe one sprinkling a week...stop laughing...)
The neighbors who are taking out mortgages with the water company? The ones with the lush green grass? Probably twice a day. (One was actively sowing grass seed while we chatted. Not sure he had any bare patches or that it would germinate in this heat, but what do I know). One side of our house benefits nicely from the runoff from our next door neighbor's daily watering (and probably the runoff of their fertilizer too, and the shadiness provided by two houses), so some of our grass is lush and green.
I just can't do it. Parts of St. Louis have been under mandatory or voluntary water conservation for a month or more. Not our little town, but still. I can't justify making my lawn lush during a severe drought so bad I've driven past huge fields of corn that are already brown in the field. What is the point? Green it up so I can have the pleasure of looking at it? So my son can trample through it and possibly dig it up with a toy shovel? So that we can have the pleasure of mowing more often in 90+ degree heat?
Sure, our part of the county tends to be floodprone and has some nearby natural wetlands (We have blue and white herons who regularly visit the pond that is behind our neighborhood). Living so close to confluence of three rivers (Missouri, Mississippi, and the Meramac) generally keeps the whole metro area humid and green even in the triple-digits temperatures of July and August. I imagine that water rationing seems kind of foreign with so much water around us.
I have been trying a few techniques for conserving some water. Silly, minor things like emptying the kids camp water bottles onto my flowers out front instead of down the sink (I figure that whatever gunk Trystan gets into his every day might even fertilize the plants). I put a bucket in the shower the other day and easily filled it with the excess water just from starting up the shower. But I am not sure that shower-temperature water was a good idea for the garden (too hot), and my husband objects to the bucket for aesthetic reasons (somewhere, perhaps, I have a less unsightly one that I used in college for toting shampoo to the dorm bathroom).
I have a water barrel sitting next to my veggie garden, and a kit to hook it into the closest downspout. (The kit is in the kitchen, still in the box) In our last house, I got my veggie garden to self-water with water barrel, soaker hose, and an automatic garden timer. I should feel guilty about not yet installing the one at the new house, except it hasn't rained anyway. I guess I could pour my shower water into that instead of straight on the plants.
Some small-minded part of me is half-hoping for mandatory water conservation to go into effect for us, just to watch those coddled lawns wither and die the day they shut off the sprinklers. Not because I dislike my neighbors, but because I think their watering choices are a tad selfish and short-sighted and that they won't recognize that until they are forced to face the reality of it. (Though I doubt they'd go down without a fight).
But really, I'm just hoping for rain. For all of us.