Friday, May 28, 2010


I have recently had reason to reflect on our consumption of water. We have always tried to be fairly frugal with our water usage (my husband is somewhat an environmentalist). We usually use 3000-4000 gallons a month, thanks in part to un-metered irrigation water (but if anyone has seen our yard and more specifically our grass, they know we don't splurge on that water either.)

Our last month's water bill came and I was shocked to see we used 10,000 gallons!!

I tried to figure out how in the world. Did we have a leak? No. Are the kids leaving faucets running? Yes. And does our new old school washer use that much more water than our old high-efficiency one? Yes.

Our HE washer broke recently and we had issues with it so, instead of spending $200 for the part, we just decided to buy a used top-loader for $200.

This week our water heater also broke. We decided to buy a tankless one since there were $600 in rebates available. And while the plumber was at it and we had money from our tax refund, we decided to get a water softener since we have wanted one for 5 years. The cool thing about the softener is that it tells us how much water we use. We check it before and after showers, doing wash, flushing the toilet, etc. It is fun to track our usage and try to reduce it.

But what shocked me the most about our usage was not that it takes 2-3 gallons to flush a toilet, but that it takes 40 gallons to wash 1 load of wash in our new machine. Yikes!!

So what does all this mean to us? I'd love a new HE washer, but I don't think it is in the budget now. So, I think we need to reduce the amount of wash we do and eliminate other water wasters. I talked to the kids today and maybe our plan will work. We plan to:
  • Check our clothes after we take them off, and put them away instead of in the wash if they have another day in them.
  • Wear our pj's for more than 1 night.
  • Take faster showers.
  • Wash our hands with faucet off.
  • Brush teeth with faucet off (they are already pretty good with that).
  • Use a cup to get drinks instead of putting face under the faucet.
What other things could we do?


Sharron said...

If it's yellow let it mellow.
If it's brown, flush it down?

Dansie Family said...

not that desperate

Jen said...

Hahahaha. Funny Comments.

Your spike may also be from watering your lawn? I know that getting the right stuff into your garden helps the dirt retain water more, so you can water less. Also, trenching helps so you don't have to sprinkle the whole garden, but just get water in the little ditches by the plants. Specific watering also helps avoid weeds, because if the whole thing is sprinkled, the whole thing can grow weeds.

Cory Reese said...

I've been thinking about this topic a lot also since I read the April National Geographic a few days ago. Check out:

Crazy photos, crazy stories. It absolutely amazed me how much we take for granted in our country. I think differently about my glass of water.