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puglogic
6-30-11, 10:16am
Our local water company has just raised their rates again, which is no surprise. We live in an arid climate and water's precious, so I don't blame them.

What are the ways you use to save water? I'm looking for as many different ways to save on our bill as possible Thanks!

Selah
6-30-11, 11:02am
Oh, all the usual mthods that you can get from your water company's website, probably. Use the dishwasher and washing machine only when it's full. Take showers instead of baths, and run the water in the shower to dampen and rinse your hair and body but leave it off when soaping it up, conditioning hair and shaving. If you can stand it, use the old water-saving toilet adage "if it's brown, flush it down...if it's yellow, let it mellow!"

Get low-flow faucets and spigots on everything, have drip irrigation for landscaping (or better yet, xeriscape so your yard can survive on the natural rainflow anyway), and have low-flow toilets (if they are old, just put a wrapped brick in the tank to take up some of the space for water). Have a dishpan of soapy water in or near your sink so you can drop used dishes into it and let them soak before putting them into the dishwasher, which saves the water you would normally use rinsing each item before putting it into the dishwasher.

Have fun...I lived in the desert for many years and had my own well, so even though the water was "free," it was very precious and I knew my fellow townsmen were all using different straws to sip from the same "milkshake."

Mrs-M
6-30-11, 11:19am
Although we don't live in an area where water woes exist, we're careful to conserve and save. For instance, we hand-water (lawn/flowers) instead of relying on the sprinkler, and I wait until the end of the day to wash dishes so I'm not doing them twice (or more). Every little bit helps!

Miss Cellane
6-30-11, 12:26pm
Here are two little things I do. First, I have a shower head and a kitchen faucet adapter that have an shut off switch. This allows you to get the water to the right temperature, and then use the switch to stop the flow of water without having to turn the water off. So you don't have to fumble around stark naked in the shower with freezing water pouring over you, when you use the get wet/turn water off/soap up/turn water back on and rinse method of showering. The one on the kitchen faucet allows you to do the same thing while washing dishes.

Every morning, I used to dump any water left in my tea kettle down the drain. It had been sitting out overnight and had been boiled a couple of times the previous day and I just wanted fresh water for my morning tea. Now I keep my watering can on the kitchen counter and pour the leftover kettle water into that. Doing this gives me enough water to water my 5 indoor plants every week. Not the hugest savings, I'll grant you, but it helps me to feel like I'm trying to save water.

I hope KIB sees this thread. I think she lives in a desert environment and does a lot to conserve water.

treehugger
6-30-11, 12:46pm
One of the biggest changes we've made recently is experimenting with our dishwasher to see how little pre-rinsing we can get away with. We bought this house (dishwasher included) from my MIL 7 years ago and she told us we need to completely pre-rinse the dishes or the machine won't get them fully clean. We stupidly took her at her word. :P Now, we hardly ever rinse anything (we do soak utensils and some of the dirtier plates, but that uses far less water) and the dishewasher does a fine job. Only occasionally do we have to rewash something.

We are also going to (finally) take advantage of our local water district's rebate program for replacing older toilets. Ours are original to the house (1971) so they waste quite a bit of water. I will admit that we have practiced "if it's yellow, let it mellow..." since we moved in, but it will be much better to just have efficient toilets.

We don't have a lawn. I think that is one of the biggest water-saving measures homeowners can do.

Kara

redfox
6-30-11, 12:50pm
Our water bill dropped in half when the last teen moved out. :)

puglogic
6-30-11, 2:09pm
Our water bill dropped in half when the last teen moved out. :)

LOL, well, our "teen" is our food garden, which isn't moving out any time soon :) I haven't gotten any mulch down this year, so that will help, and I've put in soaker hoses to try to economize. Time to get the rain barrel right-side-up too, I guess! It's uphill of the peas, potatoes, beans, and tomatillos, all water hogs.

Thanks, everyone, and keep 'em coming. I love the shower head shutoff idea - never thought of that.

Gina
6-30-11, 3:45pm
When I wash my hands, I turn off the water while I'm lathering up. Then turn back on and rinse. Same when brushing teeth.

I also wash my hands with cold water - no wasting water.

I'll also keep an empty plastic bowl in the bottom of one bathroom sink and that catches all the gray hand washing water, and that gets dumped into the back of the adjacent toilet while the tank is refilling. The back of that tank is kept open.

Also, when I am heating shower water (about 2-3 gallons), I run that into a bucket, then use that to flush the toilet.

For the garden, soaker hoses and mulch of course. I also make sure to set a timer ( sometimes that I wear around my neck) when water is running and I'm concentrating on something else. I used to have timer shut-offs at the taps, but those tended to leak after a few months use, so I no longer buy those.

I also set up an outside veggie washing station and all the washwater drains into the small pond, but it could also be used eslewhere.

Gardenarian
6-30-11, 10:36pm
I keep a bucket in the kitchen sink under the faucet and when anyone washes there hands or rinses vegetables, whatever, the water goes into the bucket. I have a rain barrel under my kitchen window, and when the bucket is full, I dump the water in the barrel. I probably dump about 15 2-gallon buckets per day, so it really does add up! I encourage everyone to wash their hands in the kitchen so we can save the water.

I also use a larger (5-gallon) bucket in the shower for when we are waiting for the water to heat up.
We use only Dr. Bronner's soap and have had no problems with using the water in the garden.

benhyr
7-1-11, 8:29am
LOL, well, our "teen" is our food garden, which isn't moving out any time soon :) I haven't gotten any mulch down this year, so that will help, and I've put in soaker hoses to try to economize. Time to get the rain barrel right-side-up too, I guess! It's uphill of the peas, potatoes, beans, and tomatillos, all water hogs.

Thanks, everyone, and keep 'em coming. I love the shower head shutoff idea - never thought of that.

Burying / mulching over the soaker hose and mulching the plants will definitely help! Of course, then you'll find out if you have slugs in your area or not. I wonder if floating row cover wouldn't help also.

We don't do much here. I've never pre-rinsed a dish (although I have soaked a few after a run through the dishwasher). I put in low-flush toilets and added a dual flush handle to the most-used toilet. I do admire the steps many others have taken though!

fidgiegirl
7-1-11, 11:56am
@Gardenarian, amazing!

babr
7-1-11, 4:33pm
i live in the midwest but have actively begun water conservation; my husband lauphs at my bucket and all my efforts but i think its better that we start now instead of when its a must; which i believe is in the future

i do all of the things that others have mentioned but just wanted to jump in as i think this is an important practice everyone should take up!

nswef
7-1-11, 10:09pm
We also have a bucket under the air conditioner outlet that catches condensation. The two dehumidifiers get dumped into the washer.

MudPuppy
7-2-11, 1:50pm
We built our first rain barrel this spring and are working on getting others established as well. So far this year we have been able to water the vegetable garden entirely from the rain barrel & that has been a big savings over last year. The barrel cost us about $30 to build (recycled 50-gal pickle barrel + assorted hardware) and has probably already paid for itself.

reader99
7-2-11, 2:01pm
When I last had a garden, I set a bucket in the shower with me. Post-shower it would have a good bit of water for the garden. I also bought a long fat hose that fit over the end of the hose that drained the washer, and was long enough to go out the back door to the edge of the garden. I drained the rinse cycle of the washer outside, and had water paths dug in the garden so it distributed thoughout.

benhyr
7-2-11, 3:28pm
We built our first rain barrel this spring and are working on getting others established as well. So far this year we have been able to water the vegetable garden entirely from the rain barrel & that has been a big savings over last year. The barrel cost us about $30 to build (recycled 50-gal pickle barrel + assorted hardware) and has probably already paid for itself.

Where were you able to find your pickle barrel? I ask because that's exactly what Great American Rainbarrel sells but for a good chunk more than $30 (they've done all the work to turn it into a rainbarrel of course, but for $100 total)

If I could find several cheap, I'd make that this year's project instead of next year's.

Cypress
7-5-11, 3:50pm
I would be curious to know what kind of soap you are using for dishes, hands, etc.....My quarterly water bill shows me I am a low user but I never thought of using gray water for the garden. I am running low on dish soap and can consider doing dishes in a tub of water with a tub for rinsing too. That water can certainly be reused but what about the soap? I live where water is normally abundant, however, I try to be frugal in all ways.

And, I think the little moo cow is adorable. Where did you get her?



[QUOTE=Gina;31432]When I wash my hands, I turn off the water while I'm lathering up. Then turn back on and rinse. Same when brushing teeth.

I also wash my hands with cold water - no wasting water.

puglogic
7-5-11, 7:39pm
Eye-opening watersaving week! I've tried many of the things suggested here, especially the use of miscellaneous buckets here and there for graywater. I have a three-gallon bucket that fits exactly into one side of my kitchen sink, and have done all the rinsing, produce-washing, etc. into that bucket. When it's full, I take it outside right away and put it here or there on the food crops (we don't use harsh soap or chemicals)

I've been keeping a bucket in the shower as well, and put one under the drip in the outdoor faucet that happens when I water. At the community garden I did the same.

Just since starting this thread, I've effortlessly captured and re-used a total of 35 buckets (~100 gallons) of water that I normally would've just let go down the drain. That's not to mention the rain barrel outside, nor the little swales I added to catch water around certain plants where it usually runs right off.

Wow....I'm not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of myself. How much was I wasting ?!?!?

cdttmm
7-6-11, 10:00am
Just since starting this thread, I've effortlessly captured and re-used a total of 35 buckets (~100 gallons) of water that I normally would've just let go down the drain.


Wow - that's incredible! You just inspired me to work on this even though we have a well and, therefore, no water bill. But I hate any type of waste, so now I'm inspired to pay more attention and make some changes regarding our water use!

puglogic
7-6-11, 11:12am
I'm glad, cdttmm! For me, there's nothing like the little rush I get from self-sufficiency and smart conservation....it makes me feel in love with life again. I'm going to go outside now and collect all the rainwater from miscellaneous buckets and stuff that we put out (in addition to the rain barrel) and transfer it to the rain barrel.....should fill it up, as we got quite a downpour last night.

pinkytoe
7-6-11, 7:03pm
[we got quite a downpour last night.]
What a blessing! We have had only one such occurrence in months. Already on water restrictions, but with our drought we are painfully aware of every drop that goes to waste so it is good to read of those who conserve though not required.

nocar
7-9-12, 1:32pm
I have a 3-gallon bucket under the bathroom sink; the greywater is then used to flush the toilet. We just dump the water right into the (toilet) bowl.

There's a bucket in the shower, as well, to catch water while the water is warming up. That also goes into the toilet. We haven't flushed the 'regular' way in ages.