Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I've recently become aware that more people are concerned about the drought than I thought so I figured why not visit some easy water conservation techniques pretty much everyone can do.
Let's start with the easiest, turning off running water. How much simpler than that can get it get, right. Now let's talk about running water and when you should be turning it off. In the bathroom, while you brush your teeth and even soap up your hands or face. In the kitchen, when rinsing fruit and veggies, they don't need running water, a small bowl of water will clean them just as well. If you feel you need running water to do these things do them over a bowl and collect that water to be used elsewhere.
Using this collected water is also a lot easier than you think. My bathroom sink often has a small bowl in it and I wash my hands into it and use this water to water a potted tree on my patio. If you don't have any plants to water but need a way to use dirty water, flush your toilet with it. This is a lot simpler than you think, you don't need to open up the tank and do anything complicated, just pour water into the bowl. You might have to figure out the best amount of water to use for your toilet, a small bowl that fits in my bathroom sink isn't quite enough to get a good flush in my bowl so I use a bigger container I add to and can then use to flush. While we are on the subject of toilets, there is the old if it's yellow let it mellow, if it is brown flush it down. If you think this is gross please take a minute to remember that we purposefully take perfectly clean water and piss and shit in it, that's gross and wasteful, letting a little bit of watered down pee sit for a bit isn't that gross, toilets have lids and they are in a room that is dedicated to them.
Other simple way to save a lot of water is catching your shower warm up water, I don't know about your shower but mine takes a bit to get to a temperature I am willing to stand under. Put a bucket under the faucet or shower head and collect the water while it gets up to the perfect temperature for you to shower in. This water is clean and can be used for pretty much anything you want. You can use it for soaking dishes, bring it to your kitchen sink and pour it in. While you are showering, be quick. I am awful at this one, but I shower once maybe twice a week so I guess if I take a 15 minute shower it isn't as bad as a daily 15 minute shower. Also think about turning the water off while soaping and shampooing, there are shower heads (you should be using a low flow shower head for optimal water saving) out there with shutoff valves on them. I have one that doesn't shut off the water completely but takes it down to a trickle, which can be collected as well, so the temperature of the water doesn't drop when you turn it back on, no one likes a sudden shot of cold water.
When it comes to washing clothes and dishes, always ALWAYS run full loads in a washing machine, it's just a waste to do otherwise. If you are a homeowner, don't have a real grass lawn, just don't, it's not worth it. If you really want one or you must then water it at night and don't water it too often and find a kind of grass that works best for your area. Make sure your sprinklers aren't watering sidewalks and driveways. If you live in a complex, voice any concerns about the way they water, if you notice a lot of runoff or sprinklers watering sidewalks or driving/parking areas, let management know. Same goes for any shopping or public area you frequent and notice these things, let management companies know about any leaks or water wasting you see from their property, they pay for all this water, they don't want to just waste money.
In the kitchen, if you are a coffee or tea drinker, only make enough hot water or coffee as you are actually going to drink. If you make a lot of pasta or steam a lot of foods use this water for plants or even in soups or other food you're making, it can add a bit of extra flavor. If you are really serious about trying to reduce you water footprint I suggest you do a little research of your own on how much water goes into the production of your food. Yes you need to eat but do you need to eat that much red meat or that much chocolate (YES, YES I DO!), both have very high water footprints.
There is one thing I don't think you need to worry about, doing the ice bucket challenge for ALS. If you want to do the challenge but feel guilty about the water, use shower warm up water, it's more than enough to make some ice with and then dump on yourself. Or just DONATE, but that isn't as fun and isn't spreading the word as much because let's be honest seeing someone freak out when they get soaked with ice water is a lot more fun than seeing a picture of a donation receipt and there is no way that is ever going to go viral the way this challenge has. I think the benefit of something like this way out weighs the waste of water and I am pretty sure anyone who has or knows someone who has ALS greatly appreciates the viralness of this phenomenon. (Did I just trick you into reading a post about something when it was really about something else, yes, yes I did)