Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Water Conservation: How Do You Conserve?

Growing up in Houston where the water is plentiful not much emphasis was placed on conserving water. It has been a continuing education to figure ways to conserve water since moving to the Texas Hill Country and using a rain water collection system. Rain is not plentiful in this area and the area has been in a drought for some time. Last year in 2008, we only had 11 1/2 inches of rain. The top soil was blowing away. And while we are over 13 inches this year, we still are in a drought and I see more top soil blowing past my windows as well as into the house. :D We are not totally on rain water because we do have a well as back up. However, we much prefer the rain water to that in the ground. Rain water tastes sweet, gives a good lather, and you get the full flavor of coffee.

When we added the rain water collection system and as appliances needed replacement, we sought out low water users for the washing machine, the dish washer, keep a little sink filled with soapy water to rinse off the dishes before placing in the dish washer, make sure there are no dripping faucets or running commodes, and replaced a 16 year old roof with a tin roof. When brushing teeth or washing your face, we turn the water on and off instead of letting the faucet run while performing the act.

I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with ways to conserve water until last Friday. I met a couple of ladies at our local farm stand and learned two new ways to conserve: put a gutter and drain pipe on everything, no matter how small an outbuilding, and catch the air conditioning condensation as it drains to the outside! You will find uses for it. I have come a long way from my Houston days, but these ladies put me to shame. lol

My question to you is what do you do to conserve water? I am open to learn new ways. You see you can teach an old dog, er lady, new tricks. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Until next time, God bless.

13 comments:

kate said...

Very cool post, water conservation is my pet-peeve :) we have a local push to conserve water here in coastal Mass. since our river used to run dry every summer which kills all the local and native fish. I blogged about this a few months ago:

http://holdfastseeker.blogspot.com/2009/04/reducing-your-water-footprint-start.html

I'm OK with people using city water to water things like veggie plants and livestock, but I prefer if they put in rainwater collection systems like yours (which is amazing!) but we're surrounded by huge homes with expansive lawns that are impossibly green all summer. You know they're running their sprinklers despite the water bans.

excellent post! If we had land I would definitely put in a system like yours, but my two 55 gallon drums under my downspout are fine for my 0.06 acres :) I wish I could send you some of our rain, every day for the last 2 weeks, straight.

-kate

DJan said...

Hi Lynn! Although I will post an answer on my blog, just in case I wanted to send you to the page for the aromatherapy. Click on that link and about 3 items down are in ingredients that she puts into the "sniffy pouch."
http://www.goodnaturedearthling.com/store.htm

And welcome!

AL said...

We are trying to do all the possible ways to conserve water here. Sometimes water we use to wash veggies, fruits and other fresh food are the same water we use to water the plants they say it is nutritious for the plants. Same with rice wash, to water the orchids. Sometimes the water used for laundry are the same water to wash the pavements, we dont need to use more soap cos the water has it already.

AL

Lynn said...

Kate, I know exactly what you mean about the lawns. We really have no lawn because I will not water it. The rule has been it survives on rain water or dies, although recently I watered our trees. :D I use our rain water for my veggies but can switch off to well if the tanks get down to about half full.

Two reasons for going to a collection system: 1) houses were popping up all around us and I knew there would be a water shortage...and there is...wells going dry; and 2) our ground water is really bad. I've never gotten use to the taste. If on well, I buy container water for drinking, cooking, and for making coffee.

My dad use to go around saying, "this water tastes so alive," as opposed to Houston water - it was dead. My question was, "Alive with WHAT?" lol

Djan, thanks for giving me that info on the sniffy pouch and for dropping by my blog. I'll be over to yours very soon to get your answer. :D

Lynn said...

AL,reusing the water for plants is a very interesting way.

A lot of people use their "gray" water for various waterings, but we were in the Houston mindset when building the house and did not divert the washing machine water to the outside. Newer construction does divert that water to the outside. I think it would quite an expense for us to retrofit, yet it is something for me to keep in the back of my mind if needed.

Thanks for the idea of saving the veggie wash water.

Rae said...

I don't collect rainwater etc. but I do my part to conserve around the house. It is a fruitless effort because hubby uses so much he just uses up what I have conserved. He doesn't seem to understand the concept of turning off the water when brushing his teeth or doing FULL loads of laundry. Can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Daisy Soap Girl said...

I save rainwater for the outdoor plants & flowers. I've started using my dishwater to water the houseplants. They seem to like it.

Lynn said...

Rae, you probably zero your water usage out...you conserve, he does his man thang.

Daisy, I would think plants would not like soapy water; however, yours apparently don't mind. :D

I may assign a specific pail house duty to conserve in ways I never dreamed. :D

chicamom85 said...

I don't have much to share but I do have much to learn. I try to do things like not letting the water run when brushing teeth and not flushing every time. You know the old if its brown flush it down rule. I don't do enough though, that is for sure.

Anne

DJan said...

Some things I do to conserve water: first of all, I bathe daily but try to skip a day once in a while, showers are never more than 3-4 minutes (as opposed to my brother: I once asked him what he does in a 15-minute shower. He said it just feels good to stand there. I shuddered at the waste.)

We also use our dishwasher the way most people use a dish drainer on the sink. IOW, we don't turn it on but wash the dishes first and put them away in the d/w (only the ones we use often; the others are in the cupboard).

We have exactly three towels. When I do the laundry, I wash my towel and my husband's. The other guest towel is rarely used. We recycle everything we can and even though we are in the rainy PNW, water overuse leads to energy overuse as well.

Smiles, DJan

Butterfly Gardener said...

I've read books about olden days of the pioneer women using their dish pan water to water the garden. I think the soap is suppose to help keep bugs away ~ not sure though. I throw out my mop water in one of my planters and it never seems to hurt it.

Our washing machine and one bath tub drains into the backyard instead of septic tank and we recently established a flower bed around the drain and the flowers are growing good.

I want to get gutters/barrels to collect more water for the yard. I don't water the grass. Only flowers and vegetables. Sometimes its only the strongest that survive as I can't keep everything water.

SquirrelQueen said...

There isn't a lot I can add as we are on city water and there are restrictions on our downspouts. But I do try to conserve as much as possible to balance out what my sweet hubby wastes, I've got one of those too.

I do use reuse water for plants, when I rinse vegetables or fruit, dishwater. If there is leftover coffee I add more water to dilute it and the plants seem to love it.

Sorry to take so long to get over, I think our cable company is working on the system and my internet is on and off.

Judy

Lynn said...

SQ, you and several others mentioned using rinse and dish water for plants. It never occurred to me to do that as well as adding water to left over coffee.

It just goes to show how creative people are in so many ways including conservation efforts! :D