I can’t take credit for dreaming up any of these but here are some super easy things you can do to help conserve water at home. Some of the very obvious things you can do are like not running the water while you brushing your teeth or setting a timer when your watering plants or grass. But there are a lot of little things that add up to serious water conservation around the house that you may not have thought of.
1. Have a bucket by your shower to catch water normally wasted while you’re waiting for the shower to warm up. I really like this one because the bucket serves two purposes. A. It makes for a good fresh water bowl for the dogs, and B. You can water house plants from the bucket.
2. Do the same as above with your kitchen sink. When we are getting ready to do the dishes, use a pot (dirty or otherwise because plants don’t mind a little bit of spaghetti in their water) to capture that sink water while you wait for it to warm up.
3. Capture condensation from your A/C return pipe. In the summer time in South Texas, we captured as much as 5 gallons per day of A/C condensation. Once again, great for plants. In the summer months, when I got that much water, I also used it to fill my water harvesting barrels for more long term storage and use.
4. Dog bowl water, and half-empty cups of water that you leave on the night stand all make good plant water. There’s no reason to throw that water down the drain. House plants aren’t terribly picky when they are thirsty.
I mentioned in my previous post, Water: My new obsession, I have a new found fascination with rainwater harvesting. After my fiance bought our first rainwater barrel and I saw how quickly it filled up, it became my goal in life to create MORE (and cheaper) rainwater storage. Enter my father.
As I got older and realized I didn’t actually know everything, I began to realize how much some of my dad’s habits actually made a lot of sense. For example, we took a road trip to Ohio when I was about 12 and my dad packed a tool box in the car. That’s not so odd, because after all, you never know when you might need some tools on an 1100 mile road trip. What was strange to me was that in that toolbox, he put a single piece of like 4 gauge wire. When I asked him what that piece of wire was for he said, “you never know when your gonna need a good piece of wire.” At age 12, needing a good piece of wire just in case made no sense. At 32 years old, it makes perfect sense.
So what does a good piece of wire have to do with rainwater harvesting? Well, my dad has always been a collector of things that you didn’t know you needed until you didn’t have it. I’m not saying he belongs on an episode of Hoarders, but he has a keen eye for useful stuff (some, including my mother may call it junk). He is the source for my blue barrels below, not to mention part of my inspiration for this project. Ill discuss that in a different post though.
I based my system off this guys
Its a simple rig really. Three plastic 55 gallon barrels next to each other catching rainwater from the gutter with some pvc pipe linking them all together so that they all fill equally. In case your dad doesn’t happen to have some barrels laying around to use, check your local hardware store or look for a soda/beer distributor. Either usually has them. The question is then, how much are you willing to spend? Ive seen them as low as $25 in some places. The other crucial thing to remember in acquiring barrels for rainwater storage is, what was in the barrels originally? Generally speaking, if it was some sort of food (pickles, jalapenos, etc.) they will be fine for storing and using the water on plants, edible and otherwise. Although you may get some spicy tomatoes if your watering from a barrel formerly home to say, jalapenos.
Ill walk you my process:
Continue reading “Rainwater harvesting: How I roll (for now)”