A little while ago I shared with you our current struggles at the farm regarding a lack of water (see post here). So, I thought that as we head into summer, I’d share with you a few water-saving tips we’re doing here on the farm that might help you save water around your home too.
Let me just start with a note that we don’t use any kind of harsh chemicals here at home. We are on a septic system and so have to be mindful of what goes down the sink and flushed into the pipes. It’s a good way to reassess the cleaning products you use, and opt for products that are more environmentally friendly. This way not only are you making a positive change for the environment, but you can then use the water in the garden as it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that could kill the plants.
- Washing machine; when running the washing machine, make sure you only do full loads.
- Waste water; direct your washing machine’s waste water onto the lawn or garden. It’s as simple as attaching a flexi-hose to the end of the machine’s waste water pipe. You’ll be amazed how much extra water you’ll have to put onto your lawn and garden.
- Soaking; don’t soak your clothes in the sink, use a bucket instead so that you can then tip the water onto the lawn or garden. Alternatively, you can soak your clothes in the washing machine itself as most new models have a function for this now.
Note: As mentioned above, we don’t use any harsh chemicals like bleach. If you do use bleach etc, do not throw it onto the garden as it’ll kill it.
- If you have a full sink and half sink, use the smaller half sink to do your dishes.
- Don’t fill the sink up completely, around half way or so should be sufficient.
- Only do the dishes when you have a full load, this goes for both the dishwasher and hand washing. This is a tricky one for me as I hate dirty dishes in the sink, but I’m sticking with it.
- Buy a washing up bowl. This is simply a small, usually rectangular, plastic bowl which sits inside your kitchen sink. You then fill the bowl with the washing up water rather than the sink. It is especially useful if you only have one sink as it allows you to tip dirty water down the drain while keeping the washing up water clean in the bowl. You can then tip the water out onto the garden
These water saving tips for the bathroom are definitely not for everyone, but it’s something we’re having to do to save as much water as we can. So if you’re determined to save every drop of water, I encourage you to give them a go too.
- Short showers. Reducing the time in the shower will greatly reduce the amount of water use. The recommended length you should shower for is 4 minutes, so we use a small 4-minute sand timer to help us keep track of time. It requires no batteries and can be purchased for a few dollars on eBay.
- Install a water-saving shower head. Easily purchased from Bunnings, they use around 9L of water per minute. If you keep to your 4 minute showers, you’ll only use 36L of water per shower.
- Wash your hair 1-2 times a week. Washing your hair every day isn’t good for your hair as it strips the natural oils your scalp produces to keep your hair healthy. If your hair starts to look oily between washes, use a light sprinkle of bicarb soda massaged into the scalp then brush out, or else use a dry shampoo.
- Keep a bucket in the shower to catch excess water while you’re showering, then use on the garden.
- Ensure you don’t leave the water running when brushing your teeth.
They key is to look at everywhere you use water, and try to divert any waste to outside rather than down the sink. Although we were already doing some of these water-saving steps, we’re really having to be careful with every single drop we use. The water we save is going directly to the fruit trees as there isn’t enough water to irrigate outside. Hopefully this will be enough to keep them alive through summer, and we’ll keep everything crossed for some good rain next winter.
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