Monday, May 11, 2009

Splish Splash I Was Taking A Bath ... (a recycled article)

These days, soaking in a full tub of water is a thing of the past. With most of us living in an area which is suffering from drought, water has become a precious, and expensive, commodity. Recently, the management in our apartment complex notified us that we will soon be paying for the water we use. A friend of mine wrote that her water comes from a well ... and it's been going dry. So water is a hot topic, with everyone looking for ways to reduce usage. Here are a few ideas:

Install aerators with flow restrictors on all your faucets. Make sure that any leaky faucets and/or toilets are fixed.

In the kitchen: run the dishwasher only when there is a full load. In my house, I would run out of dishes before I had a full load so we hand wash them. I’m careful to use minimal water … just enough to wet my sponge and scrub everything down and then, just enough water (at a slow drizzle) to rinse them. We don’t use the garbage disposal … it uses a ton of water. A better option is to compost, if you can, reuse, recycle and then … toss it out.

In the laundry room: do laundry only when there is a full load. Forget about doing small loads. Even if you can adjust the water level … try not to do it. It may not waste a lot of water but it does waste energy. So fill that tub up!

In the bathroom: turn off the water when brushing your teeth and turn it on for rinsing only. Better yet, use a glass of water … it works when we’re camping. When showering, turn the water off between soaping up and rinsing off. I put the plug in the tub before my shower … the accumulated water helps in soaping and scrubbing. I’ve also recently heard that putting a bucket in the shower captures some of the water and then can be used for watering plants. This next one works but … I’ll warn you … it’s a delicate subject and some might find it “gross”. If the only thing in the toilet is urine, don’t flush it every time. Enough said!

Outside: Use a hose with a nozzle to water plants and the lawn … it uses far less than a sprinkler and it’s good for you (reduces stress, gives you a little exercise and you'll commute with nature). If you have an automatic sprinkler system, set it to run at night or early morning and only for a few minutes. Instead of using a hose to wash off your deck, patio or driveway, use a broom … you’ll get some exercise while you save the planet. Try one of the new waterless car wash soaps. If you need to wash it with water, park your car on the lawn so the runoff helps the grass (use eco-friendly soap, of course). If those ideas don’t work and you absolutely have to wash your car with water on the driveway, make sure the hose has a nozzle and turn off the water between washing and rinsing.

Houseplants: use a moisture sensor and only water plants when they really need it.

And here’s one that, if I had a house, I would use: there are inexpensive systems out there that capture rain water. They are basically a garbage can which hooks into your home’s gutter system. It rains, the water runs into the can instead of the ground, and you have water for watering gardens, washing cars, etc. Brilliant, don’t you think? For a "how to" site, click here.

I believe that conserving water is, to a great extent, simply paying attention and thinking before letting the water run down the drain. For more great ideas on conserving water, here are a couple of good web sites:

50 easy ways to save water

25 ways to save water at home

As always, I would love to hear your ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling. Just click on the comments link, located at the bottom of each post, and let me know what you think and how you conserve. Maybe you'll see your ideas in an upcoming post.