I waste water! Help me!
Since traveling to the USVI for vacation and subsequent trips planning our upcoming move, we have become very aware of how much we waste water here at home where it is so cheap and plentiful.
Living in the islands how have you changed your habits to reduce water usage? How do you wash dishes ( I know we waste a ton of water the way we do it now )?
Thanks for your help!
Actually, new energy efficient dish washers use less water than most people do with handwashing. On island though we washed dishes in the sink and had a tub holding hot water with a dash of bleach to rinse with so we didn't have water running. We bought a shower head with a pause button to do the pausing between rinsing and soaping up. The worst on water usage is the toilet. Flush on two, that's all I say. We lived on island two years and never ran our cistern out of water. We only had one bathroom and three kids. We knew how to conserve like crazy. Now we live in Georgia and are trying to educate neighbors on water conservation since we are in a drought. No one understands it though. Sigh. Sam's club is starting to sell 'fancy' cisterns. They are huge barrels that look like wine barrels and receive the water from gutters like on island. They are made for watering your lawn/gardens. We will try to invest in them as I want to have grass in my yard... Anyway, I guess I am feeling wordy tonight. Maybe someone else has something better to add?
Teresa's right on target as usual. I keep a plastic bucket in the shower under the faucet & besides the short shower I collect the water in the plastic bucket to flush with.
The obvious ones are to not keep the faucet on while brushing your teeth or shampooing & between soaping up & rinsing off although I do keep the shower on continually but keep the time short.
Use floor cleaners that don't require rinsing.
Never run the washer with less than a full load.
I'm not real sure about a lot of the low flush toilets. The ones I've seen have to be flushed more than once negating the savings but I'm sure there are better ones out there.
The dishwater can be used to water plants or used to flush.
In this land of sun and fun, we do not flush for number one! If it's yellow, let it mellow...if it's brown, flush it down.
Water on, wet toothbrush, water off...same thing in the shower...water on, get wet, water off, soap up, shave, shampoo, then water on to rinse. Dishes? Soap the heck outta the sponge, water on, wet the dishes with a sprayer, water off, wash all dishes, rinse them in a pan of water with a capful of bleach, and let 'em dry in the rack...
My favorite? Shower TOGETHER!!!
This post spurred me on this rainy day to run some numbers and figure out how much water conservation is really needed to live solely from collected rainwater here on St. Croix. So here are my results using some rough numbers.
On average St. Croix receives 3.33 feet of rain per year
The typical per capital consumption of a single family home in the states is 69.3 gallons for indoor use (from http://www.awwa.org/)
So to supply a couple with their average annual water consumption of 50,600 gallons you would need a roof/gallery with approximately 2030 sq. ft. of surface area.
Of course I'm assuming that 100% of the rain is funneled to the cistern which assuredly is an overestimation. But the numbers do suggest that if you landscape using native vegetation, don't own a pool, lack children, and are reasonable about your water use you don't have to drastically change the typically wasteful lifestyle of the average US resident to avoid purchasing water here.
We installed new shower heads from a company called Oxygenics. You can check out their website at www.oxygenics.com. They basically add oxygen to the water so that you use less water, but do not sacrifice water pressure. As a matter of fact, If you have low water pressure, it will give you an even better shower! The fixtures are reasonably priced, I can't say enough good things about this company.
I take that back. Even the MGM Grand in Vegas uses these shower heads. I'd be curious how much water they have conserved since installing them?
Your figures on how much rain STX seem a bit high. On average the island gets 45" but the dryer parts such as the east end receive closer to 18"..
Sigh.....thanks for your insightful criticism
The best cure for this water waster was paying $300 for a load of water. I started to think of water in a totally different way.
We lived in La Grande Princess which is one of the wetter parts of the Island. We had 3,000 plus square feet of roof which all drained into 2 large cisterns - I don't think that we ran out of water more than once or twice in 5yrs(even watering the outside plants and washing the car occasionally) but we did come close a few times. We purchased water only for drinking and a couple of times to refill the pool.
The garden is a water hog for most people - plants in containers, mulch, soak irrigation etc will minimise the losses, but drought resistant landscaping is really the way to go.
We've never run out of water because of our usage. We've had cistern problems once or twice that required draining off water and then did need the truck. There are just 2 of us, we work outside the home, no washer/dryer. We really haven't changed our habits very much.
We have 7 cisterns for our apartments. Back in the spring, 4 of them got very low, so I bought $700 worth of water. I swear before the water truck got back to it's plant, it started raining, and hasn't stopped yet. My husband kept telling me not to worry, we would need it eventually, that it was like "water in the bank". Well a couple of weeks ago, the cisterns all started over-flowing. It's now official....he says I can feel badly now for wasting the $700! So now I am the most avid fan of rain. The sound of water running down the downspout is "cha-ching".
A couple of off the wall suggestions to conserve water;
1. Use paper plates as much as you can tolerate
2. Take a shower at the beach you use if they have a fresh water shower available
3. Put a brick or Two in your Toilet tank
4. Hand rinse out your coffee cup wipe with paper towel
5. Don't shave in the shower (Ladies dry shave if you can)
6. only full load in the washer
7. Water saver heads on showers and sinks
8. catch the water from the condenser on AC in bucket (good for a flush or plants)
9. fix all leaks, drips etc.
10. never let the water run from the sink to get colder
11. use your grill as much as you can (less pots and pans to clean)
12. Don't let the water run when you brush your teeth
13. wash your car when it rains ( use a good wax/cleaner on it)
14. try to convince your neighbor that the pvc pipe from his cistren to your waterline is a gas breather line.
Invest in building a well. You wont ever have to worry about paying the water guys and it makes a great resale feature. I know it is a huge plus for us when we bought this house.
Love the grill and the paper plates, but dry shave? Not in this lifetime!
Regarding #14, I bet my neighbor's sense of humor isn't as good as yours!
I don't remember everything I learned in 8th grade science. Heck, I don't remember ANYTHING, so how do I know if I can put in a well? There are only 2 listings in the Yellow Pages for Water Well Drilling. Anyone have a recommendation?
Don't feel bad...I think you and I bought water on the same day. The last time they deliveried water it was about 1 p.m. It started raining a 3 p.m. and keep on.