Even without horrible drought conditions, water supply is (or should be) a major concern for most people. If we still had to carry every drop of water we used in a bucket, we would not be so wasteful. In our house, we have always tried to be conservative with our water use anyway. We follow the standard tips like not leaving the water running while brushing our teeth and taking showers instead of baths, etc. But we recently implemented two changes to help save even more water in our house.
First, we started saving the water that used to run right down the drain (and into the septic tank) from the kitchen sink, while waiting for the hot water to come out of the tap (like when washing dishes or preparing our dogs’ food). We can accumulate two gallons some days. We use it to fill the dog and cat water bowls, water plants, etc. We started saving our orange juice jugs (which we recycle anyway) – they’re sturdy and have good lids. When you stop and think about it, that’s approximately 14 gallons a week and over 700 gallons a year.
Second, we started capturing the condensation runoff from the air conditioner - which seems like it runs ALL THE TIME lately (whew, it’s been hot). Because it's so humid here, our air conditioner works as hard to dehumidify the air as it does to cool it. In fact, we had developed a bad drainage problem in the backyard because of it. Well, once we started capturing it, we have no more drainage issues and we are getting anywhere from 5 to 8 gallons a day! We have a big container we save the water in and then use that water in the yard. We are trying to keep the trees alive that we thankfully didn't lose from the brutal heat and drought last summer (we don't think they can make it through another summer like that). We've also used it to help dig our post holes (as dry as it is, the ground is rock hard) and for the water in our concrete when setting new fence posts. This also means we're not using drinking water for these jobs.
Someday, we’ll also install gutters all the way around the house and add rain water collection to the equation.
These are just two very small changes we’ve made, but they cost us nothing – and hardly even any extra time or effort – and very quickly add up to a lot of water savings!
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