I know this post is a day late for Earth Day, but it’s never too late to start doing what we can to reduce our environmental impact.
When we moved from our acreage in Alberta, Canada to Maui, one of the biggest changes to our budget was that we were suddenly having to pay for water. After the first couple of water bills, my husband and I started enforcing some new house rules regarding water usage. Also, at the time, Hawaii was experiencing a drought and we were all encouraged to conserve as much water as possible.
Now we are living in north Georgia, which is experiencing the worst drought ever recorded for this area. Although drought conditions have eased a bit due to recent rains, we are still having to conserve water in whatever ways we can.
Below is a list of what we’ve been doing to use less water. As a bonus, it’s also keeping our water bills down.
In the bathroom:
1. Take showers rather than baths.
2. When running water for a shower, use a bucket to catch the water until it gets hot. I do this when I’m filling the sink to wash dishes too. I then use this water to water plants and to flush the toilet. (Note: I would not recommend doing this if you have little ones in the house due to the drowning hazard.)
3. Limit shower time by having a “get clean” or “G5 shower”… Get in, Get wet, Get soaped, Get rinsed, Get out.
4. Do not shave in the shower unless you are going to turn the water off while you’re doing it. Better yet, shave before/after showering. Plug the bathroom sink, half fill with hot water and use that to rinse your razor.
5. If you do decide to have a bath, don’t drain the water when you are finished. Use a bucket to scoop the water out and use to flush the toilet. I did this recently and it took me two days of scooping water to empty the tub and I hadn’t even filled the tub more than half full. (Note: Again, I would not recommend doing this if you have little ones in the house because of the drowning hazard.)
6. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
In the kitchen and around the house:
7. When peeling or washing vegetables, run water into a small pail. (Ice cream pails work well for this.) Peel/wash your veggies. Put peels in compost and use the water to water plants or add it to water buckets in the bathroom for flushing toilets.
8. Whenever possible wash only full loads of laundry.
9. Only run the dishwasher when it is full. To use even less water… wash your dishes by hand in a sink half to three-quarters full of hot, sudsy water. If you must rinse, half fill your second sink with hot water rather than rinsing them under running water.
In the yard:
10. Buy a rain barrel and use that water for all your outdoor watering. Our rental house doesn’t have gutters so I put a 5 gal pail under a spot where the water just streams off the roof when it’s raining. And then I use that to fill my rain barrel.
These 10 simple steps have allowed us to cut our water usage and therefore our water bill by almost two times more than the 10% reduction requested last year by the State of Georgia during the worst of the drought last summer.
I’m always open to more ways to save water, so what things do you do to conserve water? Please feel free to post your suggestions in comments.