More on less water

Aimee asked me how I planned to reduce our water consumption, and Amy wrote a good post on actions she's taking to do so. Way to go Amy!

I checked my consumption history through my online account with the City. It's a bit confusing, actually. For the Sept-Oct billing cycle our consumption was "4." Four what? It doesn't indicate how that translates into gallons, and I don't know if that's average or high or low or what. It's better than May-June, however, which was 8; but worse than Jun-July, which was a 3 -- but we were gone for a week at the end of June, so that does make sense. Jul-Aug and Aug-Sept were both 6 -- it just occurred to me that, except for our vacation, our water use would be higher in the summer because Chris and the kids are home all day; now that school's started, there's no one home to flush toilets and wash hands every weekday from 8:30 to 5.

So what can I do to get our consumption down to a 2, as the governor requested, other than leaving home for two weeks out of every month? Let's see...

We don't water our lawn or wash our cars. (Actually we never have. This was not a big lifestyle change for us!) We have low-flow toilets and showerheads. We follow the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" rule of toilet-flushing. I've started to shower only every other day (unless my hair looks really weird on the second day), and now that it's not so hot outside I may start bathing the kids only every other day as well. When I do shower, I turn the water off while shaving or soaping. I've thought about saving the "gray water" from baths and showers to use for toilet-flushing or filling up the washer, but I haven't got the logistics figured out and it kind of makes me nervous to think of leaving a tub full of water, what with the small children in the house. I only wash clothes that are noticeably dirty and run only full loads of laundry (even if it means mixing towels, sheets, and tshirts together). I've thought about switching to paper plates but haven't made that leap yet (it's a What Would Al Gore Do? kind of eco-dilemma), but I have started using plastic baggies for lunchboxes instead of reusable-have-to-be-washed containers; I also use wipes for the kitchen counters instead of a washcloth or sponge. I think the area in our house that needs the most attention is dish-washing -- I'm sure we need to be more conscious there.

Oh, I don't fill the dog's water dish anymore. We must all do our part, after all.

Kidding, of course.

So was this my most fascinating post ever or what? Honestly, it did help me evaluate areas that need improvement. I'll let you know how well we did when I get my next water bill. Until then, do a rain dance for us!


MomofK9s said...

I can not stop laughing over the "If it's yellow let it mellow" quote. That is the BEST CONSERVATION QUOTE EVER!

The paper plate thing was really hard for me. I mean it goes against everything I have done for years. But it was one of the only things I could think of to help reduce my consumption.

Also, I shower every day but only wash my hair every other day. This has saved tremendous amounts. It takes forever to wash my hair. But I can get away with only washing it every other day because it is so thick.

If you have an extra milk jug/jugs you could always save a gallon or two from the kids bath to water the apple trees! That way you won't have a tub full of water.

I think you guys are doing great!

aimee said...

So is the big thing about paper plates because they are bad for the environment or because they don't look nice? Just wondering...

I use paper plates (not styrofoam) when my dish washer is all full and not washed yet.

Good for you. Yeah, let me know how it goes. And I'll be dancing for y'all!

aimee said...

Ok, I read Amy's post and realize that y'all don't want to use paper plates because of the environment. Which I totally get. But yeah, if you are short on water, what is the lesser of the two evils? So don't feel bad! Just don't use styrofoam!

J&H Noble said...

Drastic times call for drastic measures? You guys have all of my support, but I am not sacrificing daily bathing or hair-washing, and the toilet absolutely gets flushed every single time, no matter what.
That said, I know there are things that I can do better and just haven't made much of an effort. I am much more conscious on recyclying than I was before the City of Allen gave every household a recycling bin, so that's my good first step. Now, I'll work on water.