Monday, February 10, 2014

Conservation Monday #2: Reusing Water

Welcome back to Conservation Monday at Living Design!

Last week I discussed 5 simple changes to make around the house that can passively reduce water consumption. This week, I want to share some ways you can reuse water (grey water). Grey water is water that has been used once for washing, but can be used again for irrigation or toilet flushing. If you have the ability to install a grey water system to do this automatically, wonderful! But if you can't change your plumbing, due to being in an apartment/condo/rental or due to local zoning regulations, these ideas can help you use that grey water no matter where you live.

1. Reuse your shower water for watering plants! Once a week I put a plug in the bottom of the tub while I shower and collect the shower water. (For a larger yard, you probably would need to do this more than once a week.) I make sure to only use eco-friendly products when I do this, since I don't want to accidentally water my plants with chemicals. The water cools down as I get dressed, and then I bail the water into my watering can. So far, no complaints from my plants!

2. The kitchen is another place where water gets used all the time. Try catching rinse water from fruits or vegetables in a bowl, then watering plants with it. Or put a bowl under the colander while you drain pasta to save that water.

3. Pet bowls. This isn't grey water, but another source of water for your garden. I've noticed that my cat will sometimes get hair, food, or other grunge into an otherwise fresh bowl of water. Instead of constantly dumping the water down the drain in order to freshen the bowl, dump it out in the garden!

Between all of these methods, I have been able to keep my balcony garden watered and happy. We reduce our overall water usage by taking short showers and then reusing that water for the plants.

What do you do to save water? If you're in California, what are you doing differently because of the drought?

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