Conserve water!  

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OldTart
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June 16, 2016 11:49 am  

Many newcomers really don't understand how to conserve water which is a precious commodity in the islands. This summer is predicted to see another drought such as we experienced last year so maybe we can all help newcomers learn how to make conservation part of their daily routine. Here are some basics to start out with:

1. "Sailor's showers". Run the water to get wet. Shut the water off and lather up. Water back on to rinse off.

2. "If it's yellow, let it mellow/If it's brown flush it down". If you have an old toilet tank, set the water level to less than full or put a brick in the tank to reduce the amount of water used for flushing. When you brush your teeth, likewise turn the tap on to wet the toothbrush and shut if off while brushing - don't leave it running.

3. Washing dishes. Fill one bowl with hot sudsy water and one with clear rinse water. Don't run the tap constantly to clean your dishes. All the water you use for soaking, washing and rinsing can be safely used on your plants and eliminate the need for getting out the garden hose. You can also keep a bowl in the shower to collect that water for the same purpose.

4. Washing machine. Save up your laundry until you have a full load or adjust the water level for smaller loads.

I'm sure others have many more suggestions. Conserving water quickly becomes a way of life which you'll really appreciate when you finally get hit with paying for a load of trucked water, which expense can really hurt!


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speee1dy
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June 16, 2016 12:23 pm  

i do not do the second one at all.


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OldTart
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June 16, 2016 12:49 pm  

i do not do the second one at all.

If you don't do #2 you should probably eat more roughage.


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islandjoan
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June 16, 2016 12:59 pm  

i do not do the second one at all.

If you don't do #2 you should probably eat more roughage.

Now that is hilarious!!!!!!!!


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FLLisa
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June 16, 2016 1:30 pm  

I'm curious about the few areas that are on city water - do any of those houses have cisterns anyway to supplement or water plants, etc.? Here in Jacksonville FL, obviously there aren't any built-in cisterns but my proudest possession is the rain water collection system my husband set up - love that free water! Also, for houses that are on cisterns, do most include gray water collection or is that something that is usually a do-it-yourself addition?

I've also learned over the years in this hot, often dry climate not to try to keep plants that are not native. It's a waste of time and certainly water.


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OldTart
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June 16, 2016 1:42 pm  

Yes, all residences have cisterns. I may be wrong but I don't think it's permitted to build anything without a cistern. Some newer construction includes grey water collection but it's not required and most older buildings don't have it.


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CruzanIron
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June 16, 2016 1:50 pm  

Yes, all residences have cisterns. I may be wrong but I don't think it's permitted to build anything without a cistern. Some newer construction includes grey water collection but it's not required and most older buildings don't have it.

No, not all houses have cisterns.

Yes, you can build a house without a cistern.


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FLLisa
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June 16, 2016 1:56 pm  

I would definitely want a cistern (and grey water) whether I had city water or not.


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Pammerjo
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June 16, 2016 2:10 pm  

I'm neurotic about water conservation when I'm in residence, but it's hard to enforce on my renters, despite signs in the showers, signs on the washing machine, signs over the sink, memos in the rental agreement, memos in the welcome letters...It's one of the few downsides to renting - that and the AC. ugh.

I was down this week and alarmed at how dry everything is and knowing I've got a pretty much fully-booked condo through August. Is it wrong to sell your grandchildren to pay the water and electricity bills??*-)


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OldTart
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June 16, 2016 2:24 pm  

Yes, you can build a house without a cistern.

http://www.agr.hokudai.ac.jp/ICSA08/speakers/O-39.Solomon.pdf

"Since early 1930s the US Virgin Islands (USVI), have a mandatory law requiring private residence and businesses to construct cistern for the capture and storage of rainwater from rooftop or dig well for domestic water supply.

USVI Building Code
The building code of the USVI reenacted in 1964 and revised in 1996 has a clause setting a mandatory cistern construction or well for all dwellings except those units that have connection to public water supply system.
"


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CruzanIron
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June 16, 2016 2:31 pm  

Yes, you can build a house without a cistern.

http://www.agr.hokudai.ac.jp/ICSA08/speakers/O-39.Solomon.pdf

"Since early 1930s the US Virgin Islands (USVI), have a mandatory law requiring private residence and businesses to construct cistern for the capture and storage of rainwater from rooftop or dig well for domestic water supply.

USVI Building Code
The building code of the USVI reenacted in 1964 and revised in 1996 has a clause setting a mandatory cistern construction or well for all dwellings except those units that have connection to public water supply system.
"

except those units that have connection to public water supply system.


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OldTart
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June 16, 2016 2:37 pm  

I'm neurotic about water conservation when I'm in residence, but it's hard to enforce on my renters ...

Do you have a clause in your lease(s) which mandates that if the water runs out they're responsible for paying for bought water? Many LLs have such a clause. As far as the electricity for the AC is concerned, have the tenants pay their own utilities or, if that's not feasible, give them a set amount which is included in their rent. If the bill goes above that, they pay the difference with their next rent payment.

PS: Also a good idea to have a measuring stick which can be dropped into the cistern periodically to measure the amount of water in there, with the tenants responsible for providing you the results. If the water runs out and the water heater is left on, that can turn into a real problem. I'm used to the old measuring stick routine but there are more modern measuring devices around nowadays!


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OldTart
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June 16, 2016 2:39 pm  

except those units that have connection to public water supply system.

I can read. I don't know how many areas of STX have accessibility to potable water lines but outside of town on STT/STJ it's very limited.


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CruzanIron
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June 16, 2016 2:46 pm  

Many neighborhoods on STX have potable water. Mostly mid island and West.
I have one in C'sted with no cistern. One West with a cistern and potable. Have some that have cisterns and a well (one that feeds more than one house).


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OldTart
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June 16, 2016 2:53 pm  

Looking forward to hearing other residents' additions to the water conservation suggestion list!


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Spartygrad95
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June 16, 2016 3:01 pm  

Send your child to daycare. They bathe them everyday there after lunch. Then powder them up. I thought it was weird at first, but saves our water


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SkysTheLimit
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June 16, 2016 3:17 pm  

Quote: "but my proudest possession is the rain water collection system my husband set up - love that free water! "

Many places it's illegal to collect rain water.

We've lived in our current house for 12 years on STX North Shore.
Even with tenants in our downstairs apartment we have never run out of water. Last year during the drought I decided it was a good time to clean and seal the cisterns since they were the lowest I had ever seen. Topped off the pool and watered the yards with sprinklers to get rid of the water so we could do the work. I was the only one around with a green yard at that time.

While we were doing this work, we set it up where the cisterns could be isolated. That way we can maintain one while running on the other. Whoever originally plumbed it had them self leveling and no way to isolate them.

I think water conservation is important, but much more important in some areas than others. Gotta love clean, soft, free water!!!

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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Exit Zero
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June 16, 2016 4:15 pm  

I use a few boat ideas in my house for conservation -- and if a landlord really wants to save water get a tenant who has lived on a boat by the way, it pains them to waste a drop.

I have a bucket in the shower to collect the water until it gets hot enough to enjoy and use that bucket to pour in the toilet bowl for a free flush.
I dilute my dish soap by half for normal dish washing so as not to use so much water in the rinsing for all the extra suds that Americans must have it seems.
My cistern is 2 compartments - the smaller one is filled by the rain and overflows into the larger one which is the one we use - if that big one gets low we switch to the small one and go super conservative. That has only been once in 36 years.
I have a ladder built in to access my gutter intakes and clean those screens weekly to catch every drop.
I use the pump sound when it runs as an audible alert that water is running so I can be aware of a leak if it happens.
I never leave the outside hose enabled in case it splits and runs water if I am not home.
I have a 2 stage flushing toilet for #1 and #2 flushes.
I heat water in my teakettle for dish washing so I don't have to 'let it get hot'.
I use saved clean rinse water for my neediest plants and herbs.

These are all habits cultivated over a long time here, take little time or effort at all and I haven't bought water in 36 years in this house, [including the girls who need to use shower water for shampoo and conditioning].


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sunshinefun
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June 16, 2016 4:19 pm  

I wish I could make water as easily as I can generate electricity!


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CruzanIron
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June 16, 2016 4:33 pm  

Looking forward to hearing other residents' additions to the water conservation suggestion list!

If you have a regular job, adjust your daily bowel movements so they occur at work and not at home.


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Spartygrad95
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June 16, 2016 5:15 pm  

Looking forward to hearing other residents' additions to the water conservation suggestion list!

If you have a regular job, adjust your daily bowel movements so they occur at work and not at home.

2x2 always at work.


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speee1dy
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June 16, 2016 5:51 pm  

now that was a good one. lol

i do not do the second one at all.

If you don't do #2 you should probably eat more roughage.


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speee1dy
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June 16, 2016 5:53 pm  

we have both city and cistern. we have not used the cistern in a long time due to the other tenants that live there. it would also have to be drained and cleaned. not sure if they would be able to follow rules with it-like no flushing when the power is out

we have to change manually ( somewhere under the house ) back and forth-i dont think there is a switch.

I'm curious about the few areas that are on city water - do any of those houses have cisterns anyway to supplement or water plants, etc.? Here in Jacksonville FL, obviously there aren't any built-in cisterns but my proudest possession is the rain water collection system my husband set up - love that free water! Also, for houses that are on cisterns, do most include gray water collection or is that something that is usually a do-it-yourself addition?

I've also learned over the years in this hot, often dry climate not to try to keep plants that are not native. It's a waste of time and certainly water.


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East Ender
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June 16, 2016 6:52 pm  

"2. "If it's yellow, let it mellow/If it's brown flush it down". If you have an old toilet tank, set the water level to less than full or put a brick in the tank to reduce the amount of water used for flushing."

If you have a water treatment plant/gray water system, this does not count. Let 'er flush!

And if I'm not mistaken, Pammerjo bought a condo, probably has all the water her renters want at .06 or or more a gallon. Long term renters (who have to pay water) aren't the problem, it's the vacation rental market that love water and leaving the a/c on while the doors are open.


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TommySTX
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June 16, 2016 11:10 pm  

For showers or dish washing we have a "hot tamale system". You push the button and it pumps all of the cold water out of the house pipes back into the cistern so you have instant hot water when you turn it on. I'm usually so warm I don't mind a cold shower though. haha

It was mentioned a bit by ExitZero to listen for the pump at all times in case something is leaking. It's a good idea to just walk around the house a couple times a week to check under sinks, around toilets, every faucet, your pump connections, and pressure tank connections to make sure there are no visible leaks. We had a toilet with a bad seal that would intermittently run just a little and it made a huge difference when that toilet was replaced. We also installed 2 stage flush toilets. You can get at HD for a little over a hundred bucks. Well worth it in the long run.

We don't water any outside plants except for a small mango tree we received as a gift. We have a mini-split AC we run at night, not necessary but worth it with a young baby. I have the condensation hose from that run over to a couple of our banana trees to keep them watered. You could also just collect that in a bucket for toilet flushing or plant watering.

Mentioned before but never leave an outside hose on. Turn it on. Do what's needed and turn it off. Those tiny drops from the connections add up quickly.

We are still adjusting to it but you must learn quickly if you don't want to buy water every month during a drought.

Good topic OT.


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