O Water Where Art Thou?

Over the last 15 years on the urban homestead we implemented a few water saving conservation practices (and we still have a ways to go)

around the house

• bucket drain (bathroom and produce packing area sink in the garden) – this water can be used to flush the toilet and in the garden

• wash full loads [once a week] using our handwasher or energy and water efficient front load washer

• less clothes = wash less

• wearing clothes until they don’t pass the “sniff test” – simplify our wardrobe

• using outdoor shower that waters surrounding edible forest

• bathing/washing hair once a week (sponges work just as well on a daily basis)

• no need to shampoo your hair every other day (wear it up when you work or put on a simple head covering like a hat or bandana to keep hair free of dust and dirt) rinse with apple cider vinegar (dark hair) or lemon juice (light hair) to remove soap residues that will clog your scalp and collect oils and dirt.

• reusing the grey wash water to water the edible landscaping (fruit trees and shrubs along the driveway or the natural “beneficial border” )

• turning off tap – not letting it run while brushing teeth

• washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.

• two low flush toilets•

 no dishwasher

• less dishes or reuse not-so-dirty dishes means less dish washing

• washing the car on our mulched driveway so water can percolate into the soil and surrounding landscape•toilet lid sink

in the garden

• handwatering/spot watering

clay pot irrigation

• mulching, mulching, mulching

• polyculture

• green/”living” mulching

• un-lawned – edible landscaping

• “square inch gardening”

• self watering pots

• drought tolerant plants

• SOS [save our seeds] that are now acclimated to our area

• permeable pathways

• removed most of concrete from the driveway to prevent runoff

future steps

• complete outdoor greywater seepage area

• gutters to divert rainwater – rain barrels or cistern

• remove remaining driveway in front – install permeable pavers

• tank-less water heater or solar water heater (still looking at watering heating options)

• and more…..

These and more are the water conservation efforts that we practice in our daily lives and you can too with a little effort. Water will one day be the “liquid gold” and now is the time to learn to reduce, reuse and recycle this precious natural resource.

» 100 Ways to Conserve Water 


A woman with bucketloads of ideas{The Age}

COULD Val Yule be Melbourne’s best water saver? Between August and October last year, the 78-year-old used an average of just 22 litres a day — less than a 10th of the 240 litres typically used by other single-person households served by Yarra Valley Water.But the Mount Waverley grandmother does not fit the odorous hippy stereotype one might associate with such frugality.
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No Comments

  1. brian says:

    I notice the wash dishes by hand comment, and I remember reading a report ( maybe consumer reports, i’ll search for it ) that even the fastest hand-washer isn’t as efficient in use of water and heat as new, obviously higher-end dishwashers. I’ll try and track down the article. Anyway, I’d be curious to hear about other rationales for doing it by hand if a machine is more efficient on the water usage ( only one metric ).

  2. Jeff says:

    I’ve been toying with the idea of using rainwater to feed our washing machine. It wouldn’t have to be made drinkable, just filtered for particulates. A simple gravity-fed system would be easy enough to put together.