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Saving Water in the Home

The necessity to save water has finally become a high priority. Thank God. If we waste much more water our children could well die of thirst.

There is only so much water in this old world and much of that is sea water or solid ice. The rest has been used and renewed by nature again and again over the centuries, but our recent lack of appreciation and lack of concern for pollution have threatened this limited resource.

There is plenty of water for every one and every need. God saw to that. But when people decide one household needs the share of a village, things get out of hand.

When I wrote my book Xeriscaping for Florida Homes over a decade ago, one third of the people in the world did not have access to a safe and reliable source of drinking water.

Wars have been caused by disagreements over water rights.

Some of us older people remember living in or at least visiting homes where water came from a pump outdoors and had to be carried inside and heated as needed. Then it had to be carried back out after it was used.

One man told me that was part of why the bushes and other vegetation right around the house were much more lush than that farther away. Most times that dishwater or bathwater was dumped on the flowers by the back door or just off the porch.

It would be a very good idea to have camps where young people and children would go for at least one weekend, use an outhouse, carry the water they use, and gain an appreciation for how all people lived until less than 100 years ago. It would help them realize how precious water is.

Here are some way you can save water in the home while making reasonable and liveable adjustments.

  • Take short showers (aim for 3 minutes) or shallow baths (3 inches). If you must soap and sing, turn off the water until you are ready for a quick rinse.
  • When you get a leak, fix it or call the plumber right away. One drop a second wastes 200 gallons of water a month. This adds cost to your water and sewer bills and/or strains your septic system.
  • Get in the habit of listening for running water and satisfying your mind with the source. Teach your children the importance of saving water and let them help you conserve. They may be the ones to hear the water running first.
  • Save your water bills and try to shrink them. If they go up, find a good reason-like the garden needs more water in May than in December or the college daughter was home that month.
  • If you are staying in a motel for several days, let the housekeeper know in writing that you do not want clean sheets every day. What a waste of wash water!
  • Buy only products you really need. Besides the water we used directly, a great deal of water is needed for all aspects of manufacturing.
  • Eat less meat. It takes several times as much water to produce meat as it does to grow fruits and vegetables. I'll be the last one on earth to give up meat altogether, but I don't mind at all shifting the emphasis a bit, especially when Florida offers such a bounty of alternatives fruits and vegetables.
  • Save any water from running down the drain when there may be another use for it, like watering plants or cleaning the floor or carrying it outdoors to the birdbath or to your favorite tree. Keep a bucket beside your sink and in your shower.
  • Thank God for giving us an abundance of water, the skill to pipe it into our homes, and the common sense to make it last. Find many more suggestions in my book, available at the library.

Saving our priceless water becomes more obviously important every dry day.