I have always thought it ridiculous that most of we fortunate few in, so called, developed, countries, flush our toilets with beautiful drinking water. I wonder what many of the refugees who come to Australia think about that? We know we don't have enough water now and so we are building things like desalination plants and dams to provide more. These measures harm the environment. They take resources, destroy rivers and they decimate habitat. As our climate continues to change, and droughts become more prevalent, we will all have to find better ways to use the water that falls from the sky.
So what do we do?
- We catch as much of it as we can. We have tanks attached to the house, the shed and we have extra barrels catching overflow water that can't go to the tanks. This we can dip from to water gardens before we have to reach for the tap.
- We capture the water from our first flush filter system, (this is the initial rain that falls and is diverted to ensure only clean water goes to the tanks for us to drink). This is still good quality water for plants and so a shame to waste.
- We mulch our gardens heavily so that rain and other watering's last as long as possible.
- We deep water rarely, instead of shallow watering regularly. This encourages deep root growth.
- We have bowls in every sink. We capture excess water from
hand washing etc.The hand washing water goes to flush the toilet (more on that in a minute), and excess water caught in the kitchen is used to rinse dirty plates etc. so the tap isn't turned on for such things.
- We run 3 buckets in the shower, (well generally two at a time), the excess water caught here, plus hand washing water caught in the wash basin is used to flush number one's down the toilet. (We still use the button for number 2).
- We hand wash our dishes once per day. We use non-toxic washing up liquid and so rinsing isn't required.
- We use a front loading washing machine which uses much less water than a top loader.
- We don't often wash our cars but for special occasions they go to a car washing place where the water is recaptured and recycled.
- Water caught in an old shed tank, which is not drinkable, is used to wash out bins etc.
- Any garden watering done is done in the later afternoon to ensure non of it evaporates away.
- Taps are turned off when we are cleaning our teeth or soaping up our hands.
- I use Enjoy cloths to clean the house and floors. These clean with water only and a minimal amount of it.