Water

Water is life. It is arguably our most precious resource. As our climate warms and population grows in coming decades, water will become even more precious. We must not waste it. Here are some ideas for how to conserve water.

  • Get some water tanks: As your home food production grows, it is likely that you will need to expand your water resources. Getting some water tanks will greatly reduce or nullify the amount of water from the grid that you use on your garden.
  • Home food production uses less water than industrial food production: This should provide us all with further motivation for growing as much of our own food as possible.
  • Leave a bucket in the shower: Put a bucket in the shower. Collect the water as the shower heats up and keep the bucket in the shower as you wash. The water that is collected can be used to flush the toilet. This will save significant amounts of water every day. Just imagine if everyone did this! Millions and millions of litres of water would be saved everyday.
  • Set up a greywater system: A greywater system is a system that uses the water from the shower, bath, washing machine, or cooking, for other purposes. Some people use their greywater to flush their toilets. If it is sufficiently clean, some greywater can be used on the garden. Do some research.
  • Flushing: In the developed world today, we flush the toilet with drinking-quality water. Great amounts can be saved by not flushing if it’s only urine. Keeping the lid down controls any odour.
  • Take shorter showers: Keep showers to three or four minutes, or less.
  • Bathing: There is no doubt that taking a hot bath is sometimes an exquisite luxury. But bathing uses much more water than showers, so try to have as few baths as possible. When you do bath, consider whether you can direct some of the water into your greywater system.
  • Turn the tap off: It may sound like a minor act – and it is – but don’t leave the tap running when you are brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your face, etc. Everything counts, and it is important to build conservation practices into our lives at every opportunity. Soon enough it will just become instinctive.
  • Water intensive appliances: Appliances like dishwashers and washing machines use a lot of water. By being thoughtful about how many dishes you use, and not washing clothes unnecessarily, water use can be significantly reduced.
  • Unforeseen implications: Since developed societies are so water intensive, governments sometimes spend billions of dollars creating desalination plants, just to keep water supply up with demand. But if we were all more water conscious, desalination plants would be unnecessary. This would be better for the planet and it would save tens of billions of dollars that could be spent on more important things. Our small acts can have huge, unforeseen implications

12 Comments

  1. We take Navy showers. Get in, get wet, turn off the water, soap and shampoo, turn on the water, get rinsed. This saves a lot of water. It can be cold in winter but you just move faster.

  2. Hubby and I have recently come home from 8 weeks travelling up the east coast of Australia – Melbourne to nearly the northern most tip of Australia. We stayed in a camper trailer – a tent attached to a trailer. In many places we stayed there were composting toilets, some were apleasure to use, others not so much. We often had to rely on what water we had with us for consumption and cleaning, both of ourselves and our cooking/food prep things. I usually managed to wash our dishes in 1″ of hot water by splashing the water over the dishes repeatedly. Even our hot plate got this treatment. It amazed me at the time that we did not get sick from what I considered to be ‘not so clean dishes’. I have since changed my opinion..

  3. I’ve really enjoyed reading over all your comments. I feel like I have found a community of like-minded people. I don’t know about where you are, but in the US we are few and far between.

  4. I have seen the adds and were immediately suspicious about it. It’s an add not a science book. If you take a full load of dishes in a machine and then compare that to ,say 15 full sinks of water to do the same amount of dishes over some days, you could probably produce that result. You can get the result you want so long as you are not claiming that it is peer reviewed science. Even when it can be subject to various forms of manipulation.

  5. I think washing dishes with a dishwasher is more sterile which is why some people prefer it. Dishwashers also require meterials to make and have a limited life, two more reasons why hand washing is better.

  6. I don’t understand how they work out that a dishwasher is more efficient when it uses electricity as well as water to clean the dishes. Last time I checked washing dishes by hand required nothing but human energy!

  7. Lots of information says that it actually uses less water to wash in the dishwasher. I have a hard time with that since the dang thing runs forever. I’m very frugal with water when washing by hand. I don’t let the water run. Does anyone know where they get their information to make it look as though the dishwasher is more efficient?

  8. Take less showers (may be easier to do in the winter). Wash dishes by hand – takes no electricity and uses less water. Install a rain barrel or two for growing your veggies, etc. in the yard. IMO water is so cheap and that’s a crime!

  9. I will ‘second’ the notion of ‘pee’ use in the garden and orchard since I am a chemist/biologist. I would add that installing a composting toilet would be a good idea too. Modern society is ‘drowning in pollution’ partly because of the invention of the flush toilet. Why should we waste several gallons of good water to flush a small amount of biological waste?

  10. At home we have used greywater from bath and kitchen and rainwater from garden butts for a number of years now for flushing the toilet, also for many cleaning jobs around the house. We simply use buckets to move it around.
    It does save a lot of money on water bills and also feels far more logical than using drinking-quality water for tasks which do not require it. We live in a drought-prone area (S.E. England) so we really do value our water.

  11. Pee on the garden. Urea is great for the soil.

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