Water Conservation

Nichol and I swapped today. Her regular Wednesday post will be here tomorrow.

I am more and more aware of water as a resource. For the most part, I try to use less than I used to. (At some point, that’ll bottom out.)*

I have read things about rain barrels, and they sound great! But I live in the desert. (I also don’t understand how standing water in a barrel doesn’t breed mosquitoes.)

I have a few plants in the back yard (though I’ve managed to kill two out of eight so far, and a third is not looking good), which has increased need for water.

Beyond water conservation, I am looking to spend as little as possible on our water bill.

Here are a few things we’ve done to reduce water usage:

Run water less.

If I’m washing the dinner dishes, I’ll wash them all without water running, then rinse them all at once. (Some of them need to be rinsed before washing, some don’t.) Unless I have a large amount of dishes to wash, I don’t even fill the sink with soapy water.

We’re not leave-the-water-on-while-brushing-teeth-or-shaving kinds of people, but if we were, that is a habit that would have gotten kicked by now.

Collect water that runs while waiting for hot.

Our kitchen sink is about 25 feet from the hot water heater, but it takes an enormously long time for the water in the sink to get hot. Instead of just running the water, we catch it in old juice bottles. (The Big Man was drinking a lot of grape juice for a while, and we saved four or five plastic jugs from that time.) I have been using this water on the plants.

This exercise was really eye-opening for me in just how much water we’d been wasting by letting the water run while waiting for it to get hot.

We have a bucket that we keep in the shower and let the water run into the bucket while we’re waiting for it to warm up. When the bucket is half or three-quarters full, The Big Man dumps it into the toilet tank on a flush, so the water runs only very briefly to refill the toilet.

Flush less.

I am drinking over 100 ounces of water every day. I am 5.5 months pregnant. There is no shortage of nearly-clear pee ’round here. I’ve taken to flushing every two or three uses, assuming liquid-only. (I do try to remember to flush if there is company coming over.)

Collect the water from the air conditioner.

It is humid here now. Well, humid relative to here. Our air conditioner is on the roof (this is pretty normal in this area). In the back yard, there is a little pipe that sticks out of the back of the porch roof where air conditioner condensation drips. We put a bucket under it, and I use that also to water the plants (or to rinse dog pee off the porch). The bucket takes less than 24 hours to fill. Between the bucket and a couple of bottles of water from the sink, I haven’t needed to run the hose for the plants since we turned on the A/C instead of the swamp cooler.

Shower at the gym.

There are two benefits to showering at the gym: I automatically take a shorter shower (who wants a leisurely shower in a group shower?) and it doesn’t show up on our water bill.

Do you think about how much water you use? What are some water-saving tips you’ve found?

*Yes, we have a back yard pool which is not at all water-use friendly. In my defense, we bought a house with a pool before I was aware of such things, remodeled the pool before I was aware of such things, and are not willing to spend the money to have it taken out. And we use it, so it’s my main source of water guilt.

%d bloggers like this: