Friday, May 01, 2009

So, how do we save water?


In light of my recent drought posting, I thought I might share a list of ways to conserve water. Many of these might be so obvious that we don't even think about them.

Turn off the faucet when you're brushing your teeth, or when you're scrubbing your dishes. Don't just let the water run. Use water to rinse, period. (I get laughed at for doing this, and I don't care.)

Shorten your shower by a minute.

Choose a shower over a bath. If you must have that relaxing bath, plug the tub and then start running water. This one is so obvious, but it makes sense. You're going to want a mixture of hot and cold water anyway. Why send that initial blast of cold water down the drain. Adjust the temperature once the hot gets cooking.

If the water coming out of the tap is too hot, turn down the water heater, rather than turning on more cold water. (I just did this at work after months of everyone bitching about how scalding the water was. What took me so stinkin' long?)

If you drink tap water, keep a pitcher in the fridge, instead of running water until it gets cold.

If you are running water, waiting for it to reach the right temperature, fill up your watering can for the houseplants. (I do this in the morning, while I'm waiting for my shower to warm up. I can water my plants, despite being totally asleep. Sleepwalking plant care? Oh yeah, I'm a Master Gardener!)

Use fishtank water to water your plants. Nutrients! Yum! Slimy kitty or dog bowl water is good for plants, too. (I just did a bit of an aquarium water change, and poured the fish water onto my garden at work.)

Use a single water glass all day. Think how much less dishwashing this means.

Compost and mulch. Water the garden or lawn in the early morning or in the evening, avoiding windy (evaporative) days.

And while we're talking about compost, how about giving up the garbage disposal in favor of a compost bin?

Don't wash your driveway. Use a broom. (Also, what's up with using gasoline powered machinery to blow leaves into the street? They makes a horrible noise, uses gas instead of human power and -- hey-would-you-look-at-that -- the leaves just get blown back onto the lawn. As you can tell, I totally hate these things. I'm not the only leaf blower hater. An average granny raking leaves by hand is faster and neater than a person wielding a leaf blower. Really. This has been studied.)

Flush less often. And don't use your toilet as a trashcan, or a spider removal device. (Spiders go out the back door, as every sensible person knows.)

So, how about all y'all? What do you do to save water?


LunaSea said...

So, how about all y'all? What do you do to save water?I limit my showers. I don't believe a person actually needs to shower daily. And hair washing... many hair professionals encourage only washing your hair a couple times a month. Those oils are healthy, not gross. And on shower days, I pack the kids into the shower with me. We take turns under the water while the other does their soaping.

Ladyaero said...

I recently had a cool little pump installed in my bathroom- when you push the button (looks like a doorbell on the side of the vanity), the pump pushes the water from the hot pipe into the cold pipe until the temperature gauge says it has hit warm water. This has eliminated any waste water from running the shower until the water warmed up (I can only seem to keep plants alive outside, so I don't need the early cold water for watering any indoor plants).

Music Woman said...

The cats are SOOOO cute! My cat Sammy, who now lives with my mom because my hubby had cats when I married him, LOVES to drink straight from the faucet. I always thought this was unusual until I saw your photo!

Anonymous said...

We use a drip water system throughout our garden, flowers and vegetables. Saves a lot of unnecessary runoff. Plants are heat tolerant, requiring less frequent watering.

Save the laundry until there is enough for one full load.

Grumpy Grinch

Anonymous said...

We save the water from our A/C unit in gallon milk jugs. Summer time yields about 5-6 per day! It's plenty to keep a good portion of our gardens alive. We are also considering buying a rain barrel this year for gutter run off.

Thanks for your water saving ideas!
~Tiger Pride

. . . geeky painter . . . said...

I don't wash my hair every day, although I do untangle it with conditioner. (If I didn't, I would have one gigantic horrible dreadlock, which wouldn't suit me.)

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Music Woman:

Kristen said...

and I thought I was being lazy by having enough socks and underwear for a month--no no, i'm conserving water by only doing laundry when I run out! Seriously--outer-clothes don't get that dirty, and underwear doesn't take up much space. My outerwear that does get that dirty is intended to stay as such!

I claimed one teacup in the house as mine and wash it every few weeks--again, laziness masquerading as eco-friendliness. Since I consume tea on about an hourly basis when I'm home this does save washing.

The nice thing about my house is I'm far enough from Manhattan that I can see the sky without looking straight up but I'm close enough to walk safely to the regular and efficient subway. I can get literally anywhere in the city using just a train and some feet, which is a lot more eco friendly than the BART, Baltimore's MTA, or Denver's RTD. As far as New York's water conservation goes...well, our utter absence of green spaces means there's a whole lot less plants to water...and it makes my entire existence gray. It's funny to me--I went so long without seeing anything green that when I came across a front yard yesterday overgrown with bushy weeds I had to stop and appreciate it a minute. The smell of young plants is so captivating. The rich, deep color of living green calls out to me at a level below language or even comprehension. Plants are a primal need.

StinkE said...

i haven't showered in years. i don't know that I miss it.

funhog said...

Since I much prefer a bath to shower, during the winter I often leave the warm water in the tub to heat the room. When my car needs washing, I haul the used bathwater out to the curb in buckets to do the job. I, too, don't wash my hair daily.

We have a front loader washer. When we got the thing I was astonished at how little water it used AND how much more laundry fit into a single load. On the laundry front, I always hang my clothes on a clothesline and almost never use the dryer. We have a line in the basement for when it's rainy and one outside for sunny days. In fact, I never owned a dryer until we bought our current house and it came with the one. You can often hear on of us say, "It's a sheets day!" when it's gorgeous outside.

As for hot water, we've had an on-demand heater for years. I love having endless hot water and no tank to keep hot 24/7.

Anonymous said...

Well, we have a well. Ours is 145 feet deep, the deepest in the area (put in in 1966 during a drought year) and our neighbors here have the standard 75 foot deep wells. We actually have an underground stream 5 feet directly under the house, so during real heavy rainstorms, the stream rises up into the house and a real estate agent could safely say we have an indoor swimming pool. Before the basement got cemented in, we actually had a rock lined underground stream down there, where the origonal house owners would keep their milk and eggs in it, so that it stayed cool on those 100+ summer days. Also, we had a well in the basement, so that the owners didnt have to go outside and break ice out of the well to get a drink. The basement stays around 60 degrees (it used to be a cave) and I used to sit down there in the summer as a kid cause we never had air conditioning. Still don't!

Gary went out and got some weed killer, since we have more dandylions than grass this year, and when we read the fine print, (we are dorky enough to do this) we saw that the weed killer is not meant for people who get their drinkable water from underground wells. So back to Lowes we go. Looks like we will be hand pulling our weeds this year! YAY! Also, we went out and got an old wooden barrel (150 years old) with wooden rings instead of the metal ones that go around the staves. It set me back $25, much better than the $150 a whisky barrel would cost me, not including the shipping fee from the fine state of Hard-drinkin' Kentucky. I plan on putting the wooden rain barrel out by the front of the house, after I water seal it, and we have a big blue plastic one out by the back of the barn. These ALL have to have the adjustments made to them that will enable them to be usable rain barrels, with the tap at the bottom and the run-off hose at the top. I wish you and Robb lived closer, cause I know Robb would be able to figure out the proper tap system to include this on the barrels. As it is now, they just sit till we have a moment to find a website that sells and explains the attachments.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Lisa- your drought post just brought three days of unseasonable rain!

I put a big bucket in the shower to catch some of the water (like the colder starting water) for watering plants. In rainy season, I have a few big buckets out in the yard to use to water the container plants after things dry out.

I agree with LunaSea- the kid and I have extremely dry, itchy skin so long hot showers are not the best for that.In fact, overbathing destroys the 'acid mantle' protective flora of the skin and leads to more skin infections- not less, as a hygeine freak might assume. Instead, a daily AM 'sponge bath' of the relevant stinky parts will do, with a shower/shampoo every 2nd-3rd day. (We'll see what happens when the kid hits puberty though!)


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