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January 2009

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shawnaree in the_small_stuff

Water Conservation

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking on the topic of water conservation.

Here are some of the things I've implemented in my life that I find helpful when it comes to saving water (and energy!):

1. Taking shorter showers. As it is, I only shower about every three days (it's better for your body, in my opinion), but when I do shower, I sometimes even go so far as to turn the water on, get nice and sopping, turn the water off, soap up, turn the water back on and rinse. Saves hundreds of gallons of water a month.

2. Not pre-rinsing my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher. This is a hard habit to break, but according to a lot of research, it uses much much less water to use the rinse function on the dishwasher. Here's some more tips related to dishwashers: http://www.aceee.org/consumerguide/dishwashing.htm#tips

3. Re-use water. This sounds silly, but... have you ever gotten a glass of water and not been able to finish it (either because you don't want to, or there's a cat hair or something in it that makes it unappetizing)? Well, what else could you use that water for-- watering plants, washing your hands, etc.

4. Turn off the faucet, and get that leak fixed. The average leaky faucet wastes around 10 gallons of water a day. Use this link to figure out how much your dripping faucet costs you: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sc4.html Running the water for an extra 5 minutes at full blast, while you brush your teeth, can be greater than that.

5. Catch your extra water. I don't do this, but during the drought last summer (in NC) one of my coworkers did this: she took a plastic bin/tub, and put it in her tub. She would 'catch' the water that would normally go down the drain that was still clean (for instance, while waiting for the shower to 'warm up'), and use it to water her plants/lawn. But you could use that water for a lot of things!

Anyway, just a few thoughts.

ETA: Also, this is /really/ interesting. How much water does it take to grow a hamburger? How about a car? http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sc1.html


My parents installed a shower head with a toggle on it so that they could toggle the water on and off at the head instead of messing with knobs while soapy.

I keep a bucket in my shower to catch water that I use for various things.

I scrape my dishes as clean as possible into my disposal. When I run my dishwasher, I use the drainage water from that to wash down the disposal (I have a portable dishwasher that hooks up to the faucet).
Great tips. We've got the toggles missdotti mentioned on our showers at home, and my water is off unless I'm getting wet or rinsing off.

And for our dishes -- we have an OLD dishwasher that doesn't offer any fancy features, so we have to "pre-wash" our dishes. But hey, who needs water for that? We've got some awesome dishsoap that I cannot for the LIFE of me remember the name of, but I just get the sponge a little damp, put a squirt of the dish foam on it, and am able to scrub off half a dishwasher worth of dishes before I get more soap. I don't rinse anything, since the point is to just get the dried or stainy food off, and my soap does that just fine. Yay! Much less water!