|rain on grass | photo: adrian benko|
We've been getting a fair amount of rain so far this year. We don't have a rain gauge (although I'm beginning to think we should) and I have my eye on this one. For now we simply mark when it rains on the calendar because after two years of severe drought we're more mindful of how desperately we need water in this Eastern Piney Woods Region of Texas.
The drought was considered the worst one since the 1950's and the effects were devastating. The biggest environmental impact the highly destructive series of wildfires which burned nearly 2,000,000 acres of Texas land. Livestock and wildlife were badly affected and thousands of people were made homeless by the fires. Locally in my town fortunately no homes were destroyed by the fires, however we lost more than 15% of our trees and clean-up is still continuing nearly a year later.
So although we've been grateful for the rain, our household become more mindful of our water use and we've realized there are a few things that we can do to help conserve water. There are of course a the typical things you can do:
- adjust your sprinkler system to not over water and install a rain gauge so you don't water when it's raining
- aerate your lawn so water can reach the roots rather than creating run-off
- mulch your garden to help retain moisture
- check outdoor faucets to make sure they don't leak
- compost rather than using the dispos-all
- Wash fruits and veggies in a pan rather than under a running faucet
- shorten your shower time (1-2 minutes can add up to over 100 gallons per month)
- turn off the water while brushing your teeth (estimates claim this can save up to 25 gallons per month per household)
- check your toilet to make sure the valve closes completely after filling
- when cleaning your fish tank use the nutrient rich water for houseplants
However there are other ways to increase your water conservancy as well and we've just implements two that I think will really help with our water usage.
My husband just installed a Dual Flush Toilet Conversion Kit. I love these things. Instead of a lever flush you have a cute button with a one dot push and a two dot push. Each one of course corresponding to the common euphemisms for pee and poo. The big reason to love it though is that now we don't use more water than we need. Let's be honest, when you pee it takes far less water to flush the remains to the sewer system; however a regular flush system doesn't allow you to differentiate. It was easy to install and should last for a long time.
Also in the water conservation mode he recently installed a Rain Barrel. After just a few rainstorms our barrel is full. We plan to use this water for container plants and the vegetable garden. We figure it's better than turning on the hose and plants seem to love rainwater more anyway. Also easy to install, it diverts the flow from our downspout. When the barrel is full there is an overflow valve which backs up and the water again flows through the downspout. I haven't needed to use the water yet as our rainfall has been sufficient, but it's nice to know we have it if we need it.
Given the growing world wide water crisis it is important that we all become more aware of how we use water. To be more conscious of what we use and if it can be recycled or if we can use less.