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Water Conservation – Saving Money and the Planet by Reusing/Saving Water

September 8, 2014
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Are we willing to sacrifice our planet for convenience?

After reading Do You Water Your Garden, I started to wonder if there was anything else I could do to conserve water.  I have a large flower and vegetable garden.  Below are some recent pics of what’s currently blooming.

We purchased several rain barrels (well they weren’t rain barrels as they were from a food company who had these barrels that used to be filled with sauerkraut and pickles).  We got them for $15 each and then made them into rain barrels.  This helps with the watering as it catches a lot of rain water from the gutters.  I also have buckets that I use when I know it will be raining so that I can use up more of the rain water and empty out the rain barrels a bit.

IMG_0703My hubby also bought this tank that he uses for a small koi pond as an overflow for the rain barrels.  The koi also add nutrients into the water!

IMG_0702It made me realize that I can take a bath instead of taking a shower and use that water to water all of my garden plants.  So when my rain barrels run dry (which happens quite often) instead of using city water, why let the water go down the drain?  Instead, use the bath water to water the plants.  I know it’s a little bit of work, running in and out of the house (several times) with a bucket or watering can full of water.  But you know what, it is physical exercise..why go to the gym?

Some people are concerned about use grey water because of the chemicals/salt in the shampoos and soaps.  You can certainly use organic products (which is better for your anyway), but it seems that it is so diluted that it doesn’t become an issue at all.  I don’t use it on my veggies, just flowers and other plants.  Click here for more info on using gray water.

Both these methods help our family save money on water and help the planet a little bit.

Have you seen this picture that was making the rounds in response to the ALS challenge?

als-waste-waterI know that this campaign raised tons of money and awareness for ALS, but it was quite a waste of perfect good water too.  Check out all the articles that pertain to the wastefulness of water for the ALS challenge.  So I loved when Matt Damon posted his challenge using toilet water.  Did you know that our toilet water is cleaner than the drinking water most third world countries have access to?

Just something to think about.  If each person/family takes one little step in helping our planet, it’s incredible what we can collectively do!!

Don’t you agree?

Sharing this on Simple Lives Thursday and Living Well Spending Less. 

10 comments

  1. I think all of this is WAY WAY WAY overhyped about conserving water. Have you ever heard of the hydroponic cycle? The earth has about as much water today as it ever has, as I understand it.

    1. Yes, I am very familiar with it. And it’s true. The amount of water on the earth is the same as it always has been and that amount will never change. However, most of it is not drinkable in it’s current state (salt water in the ocean). I do it because it’s much easier on the wallet and it makes me a better steward of this planet and it’s resources. I’m also crazy passionate about homesteading and living as self-sufficently as I can (being in the city). Plus you have no idea how much better the rain water is for plants, flowers and veggies!

  2. We reuse our gray water and have for several years. Our washing machine water goes into a 55 gallon drum and I have a 100 foot waterhose hooked up to it. I use that to water our citrus trees and our side yard. We also use dish pans in our sink and and I use dish water to water our flower beds in the front of the house. The soil actually filters it, it’s pretty cool.

    I do this because we have a septic system and 5 kids (still at home), there is no way I want all that laundry and dish washing water going into the septic. It would completely overwhelm it. Also, we’ve been in drought conditions for several years now. So even though globably we might not have less water, our rainfall is short 8 inches so far this year, on top of over 20 inches short for each of the last 3 years.

    Thanks for sharing with us at Simple Lives Thursday. I really enjoy reading your posts. Hope to see you again this week.

    1. Hi Angi, I have heard that there are plenty of states with drought conditions. We have actually had a VERY wet summer. I wish we could catch all that extra water and ship it your way!

      With 5 kids, wow, that’s a lot of laundry. I have 3 and I’m doing laundry almost every day! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I agree with you Margaret. I don’t know how you pay for water stateside but we live in that part of the UK that has the highest costs for water. We are on a water meter and that helps us control the costs.

    We also have water butts to collect the rain water from the roof and use that to water the garden but it has been very wet and so most of the garden has had what it needs. I find no problem with filling up watering cans and then taking a stroll around the garden in the cool of the evening to water my plants.

    I love the little koi pond. When we moved here we came from a house where we had two large(ish) garden ponds. We also had koi but as the new folk did not seem keen on looking after them we gave them to a colleague who was. We also had lots of pond plants and so we decided that we would bring some with us. Ever tried moving 3 hours down the road with buckets of water garden plants! All was well but what to do with them with no pond at the new home. We had found a large un-used/unwanted water tank in the loft. We let it fill with rain water and then replanted the water garden plants. We still have it in situ in the garden where every year the water lillies bloom and tadpoles gather. The birds think it is just for them to bathe in. We have since dug a small pond with some little goldfish.

    We too prefer baths to showers, using water heated by our solar thermal system, and organic products. We all need to do our bit.

    I had also wondered about the amout of good clean water going to waste with that ice bucket challenge. We decided a few years ago to support a charity that helps with the digging of wells and supplying fresh, clean water.

    1. My hubby would love to dig a larger pond on our property. But I’m not sure about the location yet as I’m slowing redoing some landscaping and flower gardens. It’s nice to have the fish in the water tank as they eat all the mosquito larvae. The mosquitos have been horrid this year by us.

  4. We are making rain barrels as well but I will admit it is mostly for financial reasons. I grow a big vegetable garden and we pay sewer on all water coming into the system not what actually goes out as sewage. So our bill really goes up during the Summer. We plan to use ours to water the chickens and ducks as well as the garden. I like your containers ours aren’t as pleasing to look at. They will be behind the barn though so I guess it doesn’t matter. 🙂

    1. Hey Deana, it does save us a lot of money. We actually have an old well on our property too. If we could hook that up, that might save us more money too. But, then you need a pump, to get it working..how much electricity will that then use? Rain barrels are the way to go!! We lucked out on these as they match our house. 🙂 We do want to get some more though. In the next year or so, we might be building a large shed in the back and would like a few back there too..it would be near the chickens then too. I have both a large veggie garden and flower garden. And would like it to be even bigger!

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