July 27, 2012

Ten Easy Ways to Conserve Water

My Crunchy Brown Lawn

Another view of our crunchy brown lawn 
and Molly our puppy.

Here I am in the midst of a drought that is expected to last until the end of October. That's another 3 months. What do you suppose my lawn will look like by then? Well, there is nothing to be done about it, since I can't make it rain. One positive is that we don't have to mow and I haven't even weeded what used to be my flower bed in about 2 months. Who wants to weed in 107 degree Farenheit heat anyway? But at least my flower bed and lawn isn't my livelihood, to a farmer who lives by the weather, these are serious times for them.

What does that mean for the rest of us? Water conservation. Yes, even though we are not under mandatory water restriction in our area, the lack of rain has brought requests to conserve water. So what am I doing to conserve water? Well for the first time I am aware of how much water I use in a single day. I am constantly amazed at how many times in a day I have wasted water. So the most important thing I have done so far is to be aware.

Second, I keep a pan in my sink to "catch" any water that doesn't fill a glass and spills out. How many times do you fill a glass and dump the excess or do you measure water out for a recipe and then you don't use it all. You would be very surprised to find the amount of water that goes down a drain each day. And of course I don't let the faucet run when I brush my teeth or wash my face.

Third, I have reduced the amount of time I spend in the shower each day. Since I wash my hair every other day, I can take a very quick shower on the days I don't wash my hair. And yes, I have succumbed to the get wet, turn off the water, lather, then turn the water back on and rinse. While I do enjoy relaxing in the shower, I am finding other ways to relax instead of standing under running water and being wasteful.

Fourth, all water from the dehumidifer is collected and then poured on any plants or shrubs that need watered or I pour the water in the birdbath.

Fifth, I choose my water levels very carefully when I do laundry. I do full loads of laundry as much as possible and I make sure that the water level meets the size of the load. I double check as I don't want to waste anything.   The next step I am considering is to save the water that spins out of the rinse or the final cycle of the washing machine.  Since this water is pretty much clean anyway, I may try to collect it and use it on my trees and bushes that need water.  I have been surprised that shrubs that we planted 3 years ago are showing signs of distress from the drought.  Since I don't want to pay the money to replace them, it is well worth finding ways to water these bushes with water that I have saved from another use.

Sixth, any water that I cook pasta in, I save. I let it cool to room temperature and then I pour it on plants in the backyard.

Seventh, as to the toilet, I use the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" rule in my master bathroom only. I don't make everyone else in the household follow this rule on the main floor bathroom. There are just some things that aren't worth fighting about.

Eighth, there is no watering of the lawn by a hose or sprinkler. The grass as you can see from the above pictures is mostly brown and crunchy. It has gone into dormancy but I fear that with this being the second year that this has happened to our yard, I honestly think we will need to re-seed the entire yard next year.

Ninth, there is no more running the water from the tap until it gets cold. Instead we keep a very large container in the refrigerator that we use for our cold drinking water. We refill it at least once a day.

Tenth, if there is a chance of rain I take my plants and set them out in the yard so they will get some rain water.  I also have an empty wading pool to catch any rain water. The rain water is collected and used to water plants the next day. It rained a little yesterday (we received 1/8th of an inch) and it rained 2 weeks ago and we received about the same amount. So even though this doesn't mean that I can collect very much rain, it is something.

These are just a few ways that I am conserving water in our household. Honestly after going through this I think I will continue to practice these conservation methods after the drought it is over. Why? Because it is the right thing to do and also because it will save us money on our water bill.


Debby said...

I know I waste so much water waiting on the hot water to get through the pipes and in a million other little ways. Canning and putting up veggies from the garden takes a ton of water. When I think about how much water we would need tro go without if our water system was down it is really scary. We do have 2 rain barrels attached to our down spouts to collect water but it wouldn't last long. This years drought is going to hit us all at the grocery store soon

Juhli said...

Great points on water conservation. I can understand the bushes being stressed and hope you can save them. We have a tree that is struggling and hope it will survive our drought and heat too.

Debs said...

i keep an empty 4 pint plastic milk bottle near the sink, so that i can fill it (to use to water plants) while waiting for water to heat up for washing up the dishes