Saturday, July 7, 2012

Water Restrictions

Just in time for the 4th of July, my county has gone on water restrictions.  Houses with odd numbers can water on Tuesdays and Thursdays, houses with even numbers can water on Mondays and Wednesdays, with time limits.

I believe I've already written previously about the problems with grass lawns.  Among them is the matter of watering, pesticides, herbicides, using fossil fuels for mowing, etc.  Unfortunately, turning my Bermuda grass lawn into a more xeriscaped edible landscape, on a budget, takes a long time.  So most of my yard is still grass.

But along with the water restrictions has been some discussion of how we can better use the water we already have.  For example, bathwater is usually not THAT dirty, it could still water trees.  Bathwater, dishwater, and (usually) laundry water are all considered Greywater, that doesn't have to go down the sewer with the blackwater (toilet water).

Now, I do not have a greywater system in my house... yet.  Right now, my house is a typical suburban / urban house with all water going to the sewers.  So, to reuse greywater, I have to hand-carry it outside.  This morning, I kept a shallow washtub in the shower with me, and took what water it collected from my shower out to water a tree.  It wasn't much, but it can help.  If you use a dishtub, that water could go outside for watering as well.  Today I also read a suggestion of keeping a pitcher or something under the tap, to collect the cold water while you wait for it to warm up.

There are cautions to keep in mind with greywater systems, with what chemicals can be used in one.  The link above has some ideas, and a simple search can provide more.

The thing is... I don't think this drought is accidental.  Global warming changes weather patterns.  Previous years had made me think I lived in an area where we were likely to get MORE rain (flooding, etc.), but this year just proves that the climate & weather will not be consistent.  Sometimes we'll get flooding and too much rain, other times we'll get drought.

There are a LOT of steps we could take to be more water-wise.  More than turning off the water while you brush your teeth.  I have two cans that I've been planning to use to collect rainwater, but I haven't started using them yet.  Greywater systems.  Composting toilets, even.  I've also seen systems for composting pet waste, but I don't think I'm ready to try those just yet.

If this is Global Warming, then the issue is not going away, and our society will have to adapt to survive.  These things may seem a little strange now, but our children may find it hard to remember a time when they weren't used.