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By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living
When I wrote my book, The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, I channeled my granny for the water conservation section. When she was a little girl in the early 1900s, her chore was going outside, whether it was warm or cold, and pumping water from the yard into a bucket and bringing it inside.
Because it was so much work to pump that water and lug it in, she made every drop count. I remember when she was in her 80s, she was still incredibly conservative with her water use, even though she’d had unlimited amounts flowing from the taps for years.
I guess lessons like that really make an impression. And it made an impression on me, too. I remember so many little things she did that I just thought were quirky and old-fashioned at the time, which make a lot more sense now that I’m trying to keep my own bills low.
Without further ado, here’s a list inspired by my granny.
Here are a few suggestions for reducing the amount of water you use on a daily basis. The list is by no means comprehensive, and not all of these solutions will work for everyone’s situation.
Some tips from those who live without running water
First, take notes from those who live without running water. Just think: If you had to physically acquire every drop of water used in your home, whether by pumping it from a well or lugging it from a water source, you’d already be taking many of these lower-tech steps.
- Reuse cooking water – if you have boiled pasta or vegetables, use this water for making soup. You will have retained some of the nutrients and flavor from the first thing you cooked in the water.
- Landscape with plants that grow naturally in your area. They should require little in the way of additional watering.
- Grow organic. Chemical fertilizers can increase a plant’s need for water.
- Wash some clothing by hand – it will use far less water than your washing machine. Be sure and save the water for other uses.
- When shaving, rinse your razor in a cup instead of under running water.
- Skip the dishwasher and do the dishes by hand.
- Instead of running water over each dish to rinse, fill one side of the sink or a basin with rinse water containing a splash of white vinegar. Running water uses up to 4 gallons per minute.
- Use a glass of water to brush your teeth instead of running the tap the entire time. Running water uses up to 4 gallons per minute.
- Use organic mulch in your garden to help retain moisture.
- Wash produce in a basin of water instead of under running water.
- When you clean out your fish tank, reserve the water for your garden. Your veggies will love the nutrient boost!
- Harvest rainwater for your garden.
Conserving water with the modern conveniences
These next options assume that running water is not an issue but that you still wish to conserve.
- Use a brick, a filled plastic bottle, or a float booster to fill space in the back of the toilet tank. This reduces the amount of water used in each flush.
- Speaking of flushing, you may have heard the rhyme, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”
- Devise a gray water catchment system for your shower, your washing machine, and your kitchen. This water can be used for flushing, watering plants, and for cleaning.
- Take shorter showers – try to reduce them to 5 minutes – this can save up to 1000 gallons per month! If you can’t handle a 5-minute shower every 2 minutes, you shorten your shower time by can save approximately 150-200 gallons per month.
- Install a water-saving shower head.
- When you have a shower, plug the tub. Use the water you collect for handwashing laundry. (See the next suggestion!)
- If you do use a dishwasher, run it only when it’s completely full – this can save you 1000 gallons per month.
- If you drop a tray of ice cubes, pop them into a pet dish or into your potted plants.
- When washing your hands, dip them in a basin of water, lather up, then rinse under running water. Running water uses up to 4 gallons per minute.
- Upgrade your faucets with inexpensive aerators with flow restrictors.
- Use a nozzle on your hose so that you are only putting water where you want it, not spraying it uselessly as you walk to the garden.
- Repair leaks. At the rate of one drip per second, that adds up to 5 gallons per day…literally down the drain.
- If you are buying new items for your home, opt for those which use water more efficiently, like front-loading washing machines and low-flush toilets.
How do you conserve water?
Have you ever tried any of the suggestions listed here? Do you have suggestions to add? Let us know how you reduce water usage in the comments.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.