It might seem that water is abundant, being that 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered in water; but you may have also heard that only about 0.05 percent of that is fresh water, accessible for our use - and this amount is in decline (1). Aquifers that took millions of years to fill are being depleted faster than they can be replenished. At some point we're all going to have to conserve a lot more than we do now in order to preserve this life supporting resource.
"Primitive people used about a gallon of water a day for drinking, cooking and washing. Today in the U.S. the average person uses, per capita, twelve hundred gallons each day for basic needs... This does not include the hidden water uses in energy, material goods like clothes and cars, and industry, such as the sixty-five thousand gallons it takes to make one single ton of steel." (2)Obviously, there is room for much improvement. I strongly believe we can all start making small changes today that will positively impact our future. Changes that don't impact our lifestyle or our wallet. There are many ways to conserve water, but let's just start with one - one that my grandfather has been using as long as I've know him. Catch basins in sinks.
This isn't a high tech solution or even a really clever one, but sometimes the simplest and least expensive solutions are the best. This catch basin collects all of the water that drips off our dishes as they dry. I rinse our fruits and vegetables over this basin. Since we've made this change in our home, I've been amazed at how much water this saves. One basin collects enough for me to water our four fruit trees out back every day, and it's just as easy - perhaps easier - than me having to haul out the watering hose. Provided that you are using bio-degradable soap, even wash water can be excellent graywater to use on your non-food bearing trees and shrubs.
Add a catch basin to every sink in your house and you'll be amazed at how much water is wasted down the drain every time we turn on the tap.
This article is linked up with Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday and The Healthy Home Economist, WFMW.
(1, 2) Food Not Lawns, by H.C. Flores