10 In my everyday life

using things twice

Moving to a place where the locals are praying for rain puts water usage into a different perspective.

There’s no town supply water here – it’s all rainwater collection from the guttering into tanks. We have two medium-sized ones and I’m interested in how much we use, as well as ways we can re-use it and reduce water wastage. Empty tanks with no rain means having water delivered at a very hefty price.


Yesterday I had a quick, navy-style shower with the plug in the bath to see how much water I used. There was enough to fill the basin and jug pictured above and probably another two jugfuls that I didn’t save as I was having trouble scooping it all up. Still, that’s enough water to generously hydrate all the plants on our front deck.

I also washed the dishes in that same basin – just half full (but not with the same water!). The dish water was enough to water the herbs outside our back door.

Add the laundry water to our reusable collection and there’ll be enough for our little vege garden too.

It will definitely be worth us using water twice and investigating a more labour-saving solution longer term.

* We use environmentally friendly soaps, dish wash and laundry liquids, so it’s safe to pour all our grey water on the garden. It may even help eliminate some garden pests!

  • Jo
    09/04/2014 at 19:33

    Love this. We’re big fans of grey water too. Seems a bit silly given that it’s rained more in the last six months than in the last 150 years but still…it all counts! Also – and here’s me maybe outing myself as a typically British soap-dodger but we only have a bath, no shower, and I only do a full on bath twice a week. Same for Evie. It’s not as if I’m working down t’mines every day.

    • leoniewise
      14/04/2014 at 11:22

      I’m getting a bit tired of scooping water out of the bath with a jug already, so we’re going to see if we can route our shower and laundry pipes into a grey water tank in readiness for the giant garden I want to have. I don’t think you’re a soap-dodger, more like sensible :)

  • Catherine
    09/04/2014 at 18:39

    We had no running water for two weeks or so after the Feb 2011 earthquake, I learnt to wash with a small bowl of water and a flannel. For the dishes, we used rainwater from a barrel that we pushed under the broken garage spouting, we boiled it first before using as the barrel was none too clean.
    We certainly appreciated the town water supply when it came back on.

    • leoniewise
      14/04/2014 at 11:20

      I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you – bit of an adjustment I guess. It’s interesting how much I took water for granted until I got here and the locals are all talking about how dry it’s been and how expensive water tanks are to fill!

  • Andrew Baird
    09/04/2014 at 08:27

    Sweet I’ll remember to bring water when we visit, always have to do it when we go visit friends/family on farms :-)

    • leoniewise
      14/04/2014 at 11:17

      It’s not quite that bad – our tanks are full. It’s just an interesting thing to need to think about now… no more long, hot showers for us (not that we did that much anyway). :)

  • sarah
    09/04/2014 at 08:06

    I do this too. And when running the tap in the morning to clear the pipes, or to heat the water, I put a jar under it to collect the water. I also empty any excess water from the kettle into a bucket (as you should never boil water twice). It’s amazing how much water you preserve this way.

    • leoniewise
      14/04/2014 at 11:18

      It’s fascinating how much water I’ve already found that we can re-use. Even the drier, when I need to run it, has a water tank that I can empty into the herbs rather than it going to waste. x

  • michelle gd
    09/04/2014 at 07:46

    i kinda love this. a lot.
    (i know i take our water for granted…)

    • leoniewise
      14/04/2014 at 11:19

      I certainly did until now!