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Easy Water Saving During Water Shortage

03/17/2017, 12:00pm EDT
By Lance Braithwaite

As the earth heats up and the ice caps melt, the sea levels start to rise - and what do we have - hose-pipe bans and a situation of "water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink"!

After every long winter, the warm and sunny weather finally arrives - together with hose-pipe bans for many of us. I am lucky to live in an area that has not banned the use of hose-pipes, but because I have a water meter, I am very conscious of how much water I use. I would like to be able to say that my concern is only for the environment, and that does matter to me, but the amount of my bills is a factor that is rather more important at the moment.

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I already have three water-butts and 2 plastic dustbins for storing rain water, but they do not last very long when you are watering thirsty runner beans. So I have started to save my shower water! Any recycled water is known as "grey water" and can be bath or shower water, washing up water or water from your washing machine. You can use this water in your garden for plants and shrubs, but it is not a good idea to water your fruit and vegetables with this water saving method because of the chemicals used in the various soap products. Also, if you want to save the water from your washing machine, then you need to change to non-bio washing powder or liquid. Washing up water needs to be filtered first - but this can be done by pouring the saved water into a watering can or bucket through an old pair of tights (is there no end to the use of old tights?)

So, my shower water is now collected & saved instead of going straight down the drain. My next door neighbour has been very helpful and put an extension piece onto the pipe that is connected to the outlet from my bath so it now empties into a large container. But he has done it in a way that means I can re-divert back to the drains during the winter. I should add that I live in a bungalow, so this has not been too big a job. The container was given to me and my neighbour had a piece of plumbing pipe in his garage, so there has been no cost involved in saving this water. I am managing to save about 50 litres of water per shower, which is enough to water my shrubs and plants that are not established and whose roots have not yet grown down far enough to obtain enough moisture by themselves. I have never thought it worth watering the lawn, although I realise some people want their grass to be green, not patchy and brown like mine.

If your drains are situated in a place that means you cannot put a container nearby, and you don't want to carry watering cans through your home, there is a gadget now available from many gardening stores and on the internet. It is called a "drought buster" and is, basically, a length of hose-pipe with a "bulb" near one end and uses atmospheric pressure to draw the water up from the bath and through the hose pipe. A few squeezes of the bulb will start the water flowing and, if the pipe is long enough, you can put the other end out through a window into a container. The hose can be lengthened by using standard hose pipe connectors.

I know you can also purify water with certain plants, so after I've watered the garden with the saved water i think I'll look up my books to see which reeds will clean up the water from my washing machine - then I'll be able to top up the pond!


Lance Braithwaite
Technology Expert
Mississauga Gazette

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