A friend of mine is obsessed with saving water. She has made significant changes to her home and lifestyle over the past few years that have reduced her water usage – and bill – by noticeable amounts. I asked to see a recent water bill and an old one but her water-saving habits pre-date her water bill collection. (She tossed the old bills out.)
This past summer, my friend took her water-saving methods to the next level because she had plans to install a vegetable garden, which would use more water. Her goal was to maintain her current water usage. So far, she’s been successful!
Here are some of the big and small things she does to save H2O.
- Collects water runoff from her garage gutters and angles them into a trash bin. That water feeds her vegetable garden, which feeds her.
- Installed a tankless water heater, which heats water as you use it. (More of an electricity savings.)
- Replaced her clothes washer with a super low-flow, front-loading washer.
- Stopped watering her back lawn for six months until the grass died, then covered it with gravel and pavers, except for a boxed in vegetable garden. Now it has a zen rock-garden feel to it.
- Her main shade trees produce fruit, including oranges and limes.
- She planted herbs like mint, basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary instead of decorative plants. This shaves a few bucks off her grocery bill.
- While the shower heats up she collects the cold water in a bucket and uses it to feed her vegetable garden.
- In the front yard she has rocks, paver stones, and drought resistant plants instead of grass.
Resources for saving water and living sustainably:
PathToFreedom.com – a site written by a family in Pasadena, CA that has turned their property into a working micro-farm. The site is loaded with helpful info and inspirational stories.
Gardeners.com provides a long list of drought-resistant perennials from their readers, including oriental yew, evergreen boxwood, tachys byzantina (lamb’s ear), ornamental grasses, Mexican sage, eucalyptus, lavender, blue catmint, and jacaranda.
Lighterfootstep.com, a site devoted to reducing one’s carbon footprint. I’m digging this story on 30 things you should never compost or recycle.
UPDATE: Reader Janet says she has experimented with drastically reducing her water bill, too!
For kicks my DH and I decided to see how little H2O we could use month to month. The two most extreme things we do is capturing 4-5 gallons of water from each shower per day. This is used to irrigate the backyard plants.
The other thing is to hand wash dishes (yes, I am aware most people save H2O by using a dishwasher). For an entire sink of dishes I start with a cereal bowl full of soapy water and scrub each item. Once all are scrubbed, I fill a large pot with warm water and 1/2 cup of vinegar, I use this as a pre-rinse to dissolve the soap before rinsing under the faucet. All the water is captured and we use less than 2 gallons for the entire load and the dishes are squeeky clean. This water is also used in the backyard.
We have averaged 2- 3 units of water a month this summer!