A new mom dives into parenthood. Will our heroine survive?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Saving Water for the Environment and your Pocketbook

It was recently reported on the news that if we continue our current drought conditions, our area water supply will be depleted (as in NO water) by January. In the South, a typical summer day includes sunny skies, muggy air, and afternoon thundershowers. Well this year, I can literally count the times its rained on my fingers. In fact, its been so dry that when we finally did get a thunderstorm back in July, lightning hit an apartment building in our neighborhood and it caught on fire! The building was totalled.

So, you can imagine my anger when, despite these awful conditions AND legally binding water restrictions, I see people hosing down their driveways, washing their cars, and watering their lawns DAILY. This is such a frivolous misuse of our precious resources and when January comes and we can no longer drink from the tap, bathe, or flush our toilets, perhaps these same people will feel some remorse.

In our home we are very conscious of our water consumption. It actually began as a money-saving endeavor but has spilled over into environmental protection since our drought began. Our water bill last month was $20 and I'm trying to lower it even more. Here's how we are not only cutting costs, but attempting to grant our frivolous neighbors one or two more days of water use:

1) No Grass. Sounds weird I know, but actually we live in a brand new development and our grass has not yet been "installed". Last week we received a letter from the builder informing us that it would be our responsibilty to keep our grass alive after installation by watering it every day, despite the drought conditions, and that we should get a watering permit from the town. To this we said "Nay!" and called the builder to postpone the sodding of our yard until drought conditions improve.

2) No Car Washing/Driveway Cleaning. It breaks my heart to see all that precious water draining down the sidewalk into the gutter just so someone's car will look a little more shiny. For this we are also waiting until drought conditions improve and then only occasionally to save on our water bill.

3) Shorter Showers/Baths. As a new parent I find it hard to shower anyway (haha) but when I do (which I assure you is everyday!) I try to keep it short. When I choose to take a bath, I don't fill the tub up luxuriously, I just fill it enough.

4) Ice to water plants. This may sound silly, but if we have a drink with ice in it, say from a fast food restaurant for example, we don't just chuck it in the garbage, we pour the ice around a plant. I know this probably doesn't really help that much - but it makes me feel good!

5) Toilet Flushing. Gross - I know, I know! But it literally saves gallons of water per day to just not flush the toilet unless you need to - and you'll know when its time!!

6) Laundry. This one is hard for us because we are cloth diapering and the diapers just simply HAVE to be washed, but if you can, cut back on your laundry. Don't wash clothes you've only worn for a few minutes or that you haven't gotten dirty.

7) Rain Barrel. This one is also hard for us, since we don't seem to get rain anymore but we are going to do this anyway. You can install a rain barrel under your gutter pipes and use the collected rain to water lawns or plants, or even flush toilets.

Thanks for reading!


WesternWarmth said...

We've had a lot of moisture this year--there's moss growing outside our apartment! But these tips are useful anyway, no need to waste!

Debbie J. said...

Good ideas! Even though we have well water, it would be a good idea for us to be more aware of how much water we are using. The water table could go dry, especially with the farming operations all around us using the water for irrigation and watering the thousands of chickens, turkeys and pigs in this area! Also every time that water pump cranks up it uses electricity which makes the electricity bill go up! If we ever get any rain, the water barrel idea is fantastic too!

Littlepenpen said...

Good job... you have learned well from you mom! My daddy has always been a miser with water and used to fuss at us for letting the water run while we brushed our teeth. (well water!) He reminded me of this just the other day... I'm taking him a lot more seriously this time! We won't even talk about his toilet paper conservation! Ha ha!