No, dear Mr Water Board Man. It was just Cushion, Georgia and me on holiday.
My brother is
Chart from HERE.
In fact, based on this chart, my brother uses just a little more water per day than the average Rwandan.
In our defence, we did a lot of cooking, cleaning and laundry in the 10 days we were with him. Not to mention, 1 laundry load for Georgia, 2 baths after swimming at muddy Nudgee, and a tub of water for cooling down after walks.
Dogs can and do account for a lot of water usage.
Ideally, Georgia would get a bath no more than once a fortnight. Unfortunately, she has dermatitis and allergies, so we end up hosing her down after almost every walk. Add that to her over-active anal glands, swims in muddy water and predilection for rolling on dead things, and she's actually likely to have a bath every week.
Our water bill went down immediately after Rufus died. He was a giant dog with a lot of fur, and was both #1 and #2 incontinent towards the end. I did a lot of cleaning after him. Soiled sheets, towels, floor, butt.
It's amazing how quickly it all added up.
Doing laundry, the Uncle E method.
I'm not sure why my brother tops up his washing machine this way, maybe to make sure it's just enough water to cover the clothes?
Rinsing is done with rainwater from his tank. I'm afraid that tank got quite depleted during our stay.
Notice how dirty Georgia's tub of cooling-off water is? It turned brown within a day from all the flower and leaf litter but I wasn't allowed to change it. I did suggest it, but backed off after a truly menacing glare from my brother. Instead, every morning, I used a little sieve to remove the litter and dead insects. Voila! Worked just as well. Lesson learned.
Mellow yellow. I hope you know what this means because I do not want to go into details. Cushion reckons the flush is one of the biggest water wasters, despite the fact that we have half-flush toilets. So now, we follow the mellow yellow rule. My only proviso...last person to go to bed must flush. I draw the line at funky smells first thing in the morning.
And here are a few other water saving ideas we've been working on -
. We changed all our tap heads from twist to flick.
I still prefer this look but...
Pic from HERE.
...I've never regretted changing over.
We did this a few years back. I think it was a great investment. However soapy, bloody or oily my hands are, I can turn the taps on and off with a nudge. I'm now so used to washing without running water, when I heard water gushing from a bathroom tap on telly a few days ago [I think it was an episode of Homeland Season 1], I had a major cringe.
. We turn the tap off when soaping or shampooing in the shower, and turn it back on to rinse. Easier in summer than winter, no doubt.
. We never turn a tap on full. Because. it's. not. necessary! Unless you have a stubborn booger stuck in the basin.
. The floor gets mopped only when it looks like it needs it, instead of 2 times a week. [My personal favourite.]
. The car gets washed only when it's cocooned with cobwebs, the bird poop on the bonnet has solidified or the neighbours are looking at us funny.
. I don't water the garden every day, but I give it a good soaking when I do. There are water restrictions in place in many parts of Australia. Here in Sydney, we're not allowed sprinklers, trigger nozzles are a must, and watering has to be done before 10 or after 4.
Georgia's stale drinking water, leftover bath water, and water from rinsing fruit, vegies or rice also gets tossed into the flower pots. My nanny used to pour water from cleaning fish into the garden beds. It stank, as you can imagine, but it must have been good for the plants because that garden was lush!
Learning how to save water is a work-in-progress for me. I've discovered it can be both a challenge and fun, and I can't wait to see our next water bill and usage figures!
Do you have any other water saving ideas to share?
We looked into getting a water tank some years back, but there's not enough space in our little courtyard.
"Are you sure, Typist? They come in all shapes and sizes, y'know."
And if only we could put in a composting toilet, like this one at our little cabin in the Byron hinterland.
The picture right at the top of this post, is the bucket of wood shavings that was sitting next to the loo. However frightening this sounds, I can assure you there was zero smell emanating from this toilet. ZERO! And I have a pretty good snout.
What do you think goes into the wheelie bin below the toilet?
The hose is the venting system. The PET bottle is for drawing bugs to the light, which can then be released, if you're so inclined.
While we're at it, some reading...
. Water restrictions in Australia.
. Sydney Water's Water Wise Rules.
. A mighty interesting Challenge.
Excerpt: "...Americans consume an average of 575 liters of water a day, while many Rwandans, who have to walk miles to collect their water, only consume 10."
. A post from Kirsten that I've wanted to share since reading. Not exactly about water, but definitely in the ball park. She's inspiring.
. And lastly, a post from a lady whose entire annual household budget for clothing is $100. Clearly, I have a lot to learn about living a frugal life.