Sunday, 18 October 2015

Ways to save water

In my travels at the weekend I was at the property at Nagambie.  It's showing all the signs of the early drying off of the year that the Bureau of Meteorology has been warning us about.
We're moving cattle off of that property to another.  They've been needing to wade out nearly belly-deep in the mud of the dam to get at the last of the water (you can tell from the dried mud on their legs).
Even leaving aside the fact that the water will be (in essence) highly diluted mud, it's only a matter of time until one of them becomes hopelessly bogged.
Shepparton has a semi-arid climate, and so water saving tends to be a habit.  One of the first things one learns is that water can be used multiple times.  If you regularly boil corned beef or vegetables for dinner, don't drain the hot water (or, if you must drain it, catch it in something).  Put a lid on the container and it'll stay hot long enough for you to use it to wash the dinner dishes.  These dishes will already be dirty, so there's no harm in it.  Rinsing the dishes after washing is the only part that needs clean water, and for that you can boil an electric kettle.  It barely needs saying that all of the water used in this process can be saved for watering a garden.
Another thing to remember is that plants are essentially organic water filters: if you pour a slurry of sand and water onto a plant, it'll take up the water but not the sand (naturally, you don't want to push this too far: pouring seawater on a peach tree seedling is a good way to kill it, for example).  This means that if you have something that contains a measure of water along with other things, you can include it in water you know will be going onto the garden.  This is especially relevant for water in the bathroom.  While showering, do the "bucket shuffle" and have a receptacle in there to catch the water.  The same bucket can also receive a lot of other bathroom waste that otherwise must be rinsed away, like toothpaste, mouthwash and shaving foam.  If you know the water may be standing in its bucket for a while, pour in a dash of disinfectant to prevent bacteria growth causing a nasty smell.  An alternative use for this saved water is to flush the toilet.
Keep your eyes open for other uses of rinse-water.  Water from a washing machine can be used to wash the floor or a car.  It can also dilute buckets of water from the bathroom that might be a little strong even for healthy plants to take.  Water from rinsing blood from a meat tray or milk from an empty bottle can be offered to dogs as a small treat (try it if you don't believe me: my Labrador goes nuts over blood-water).
How about you?  Do you live where water is at a premium?
What do you do to make it go further? 

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