For those of you living in California like myself, you all know that we are under severe drought conditions. With a mandatory 25% water reduction placed upon us, I have come up with some unique ways to conserve water:
1. Everyone has heard of the three minute shower, but what about the cold water that comes out of the taps while you wait for the water to heat up. Use a bucket to capture that cold water and then transfer the water to an outdoor containment system to use in the garden. We have been doing this for the last two years in my house and it works!
2. Eat off of paper plates. This helps to conserve dishes and eliminates the need to run the dishwasher or wash dishes by hand on a daily basis. It is not that much of a hardship and you can then do dishes once a week vs. daily
3. And speaking of washing dishes. How about skipping that dish washer and doing the dishes in the sink. Use a dishpan for washing and a single bucket for the rinse water. When you’re done, use the rinse water out in the garden. It is a good water to provide nutrients to the garden.
5. As much as I hate shaving, using an electric razor will actually save a lot of water. Think about it ladies. When you stand in the shower to shave your legs, you let the water run. Using an electric razor will save thousands of gallons of water on a yearly basis.
6. Instead of letting the water run when brushing your teeth, fill a small cup with water and use that to rinse and clean your toothbrush.
7. Ok…here’s one you probably don’t want to hear, but it needs to be said. Remember the saying, “When it’s yellow, let it mellow. When it’s brown, flush it down.” Given the extreme nature of the California drought, let’s take it a step further and restrict the flushing when necessary. As gross as this sounds, combining flushes, especially overnight uses of the facility, is another way to save on water that you might not necessarily think about. Obviously you can’t do this when you have company visiting, but if it is just the family around, or in the case of myself, just a husband, put the toilet cover down and wait to flush when the toilet gets full.
8. Now that I’ve finished talking about the yucky one above, here is something fun to think about. When given the opportunity, catch any and all rainwater from any area where it runs off. I have several areas in my back yard where the water literally cascades off of and into buckets. I then transfer the buckets to other containers, such as 2-liter soda bottles or a garbage can, and use the buckets again during the next rain storm. I then use this water for my garden.
9. If you are in the mood, perhaps it is time to take on a couple of DIY projects, such as installing that low flow toilet and shower head. Also, check for any drips and leaks at all the water sources in the house. Disconnect the disposal and dishwasher as they both use too much water.
10. I am not big on doing laundry. I have enough clothes to wear for approximately three to four weeks, and I go to the laundromat where it is more efficient both on water, electricity and time. Think about using a public laundry facility. While it might seem inconvenient, it will be worth it in the long run.
A few final thoughts on this subject reminds me to think about getting back to a time when life was simpler. My advice is to be efficient when using water and just use it wisely. We can’t let the water run anymore because there isn’t that much left to run.