Thursday, May 19, 2011

One Easy Way to Save Water

Water is a precious resource that most of us take for granted. It's always available to us when we turn on the tap, the shower, or the sprinkler system. It is this easy access to water that causes us to forget that much of the world's population still lives without access to clean water.

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


Refracted Lite said...

We've lived without water many times - pump going out or electricity taking a vacation. When you are in a situation where you can't access water that's when more people think about it. I've seen so much waste with water and it's pretty sad. There's a number of sites I'm sure you've seen that has awesome rain collectors and ways to use your gray water. My neighbor in NM at the time was great in this area and learn much from her grandfather. One of the best was - when getting ready to wash dishes she would catch the water in gallon jugs until it was hot. Then use the water for drinking - cooking etc. My Gramma would drain her rinse water from the water and reuse that water for washing. Smart ladies! Thanks for posting I hope everyone will try at least one thing to conserve water and stick to it :)

Shanon Hilton said...

When you have to haul water up a well every day you appreciate the work that goes into having that water! I remember staying with my grandparents as a child, how they conserved water. Bath tubs were filled with only one inch of water. I never understood why they had to be so conservative. But, they never forgot what it was like to live in a world without plenty, even when there was plenty to be had. It's something to respect and strive for.

Sarah Smith said...

Wow, what a great idea. Looks like it could take some getting used to having the bowl in the sink, but worth the effort. Thanks for sharing this!

Barb said...

Thanks for the tip! I try to be mindful of my water use more from the frugal aspect. Any time I can, I collect water in my inside watering can to water the houseplants. Outside we have a make-shift rain barrel set up.

I took water for granted for the most part until a few years ago when we had a serious drought in our area. I collected water from washing clothes to keep our garden going. I still remember hauling the 5 gallon buckets up and down the basement stairs!

Haley McAdams said...

We should save water everyday. Acting and taking responsibility in an environmental awareness activity is really an act that should be shared with others. I hope everyone will do the same and create a clean and green environment for the future generations. ISO 14000 Environmental can help people understand and be aware of different things to save the environment and conserving water.

The environment is really important for the future generations and we should really make sure that we maintain and preserve every single element in it.

Lorenza Coon said...

Water is so important that we can't afford to waste it. Though, most still choose to ignore the call to conserve water. Small acts, like catch basins in sinks, can make a big difference. Keep in mind that what we choose to do today will impact our future.

-Central Basin