Yesterday was Sunday. Kind of an obvious statement, but it serves to anchor the coming post. On Sunday we do laundry. Laundry uses a relatively large amount of water. We also, more likely than not, run the dishwasher. The dishwasher doesn't use a huge amount of water, but it adds to the consumption nonetheless. Sunday is also a great day to start the morning sharing a bath, lounging and reading our books in the sun amongst the orchids (and right now tomatoes). The bathtub--seating two, as it does--does use a lot of water, especially when one of the participants (the stupid one to be named later) chooses to top it off with hot water and stay a bit longer after the other one leaves. All in all, given that our system only produces 1.5 gallons of filtered water a minute, it was not a good day to decide to run a test of the entire soaker irrigation system in the botanical garden.
I had good intentions (obviously). We are getting ready to leave for Montana and I didn't want the house sitter to have to muck around with watering a solid half acre of new plants. But I failed when I bought the timers for the hoses and didn't get the kind where you can specify the day(s) of the week you want the system to run. Mine just have intervals so logic (which I applied only sparingly) dictates that if you program them all on the same day, they will all start on the same day and run on the same day thereafter. I also set each hose to run for an hour. Finally, to make sure each hose had sufficient pressure, I set them to run in sequence rather than in parallel. Let's do the math. We have six raised beds. All but two of them have two hoses each for a total of ten hoses. That means running our water for ten hours straight. On Sunday. On top of everything else.
The tip of the iceberg of my stupidity was discovered by the spouse on Monday morning when he went to brush his teeth and found there was no water. I blithely reassured him that it was just because I had watered the night before and all I had to do was go flip the reserve switch on the tank and we'd have water. The true magnitude of my stupidity was subsequently discovered when I arrived at the well house to find we were already in reserve mode. I had run our tank dry--and it started the day almost full. The coup de grâce was delivered by the new meter I had installed which told me we (and I use that pronoun very loosely) had managed to use 1,750 gallons of water on Sunday. Average consumption for a family of two is 160-200 gallons for a day.
Back to the drawing board for an automated system for watering the botanical gardens (thank god I put in native plants which only need water to get established and then sparingly thereafter).