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Back to Basics: Water

content ballA vital component in any household budget is water.  We drink it, use it for cleaning and bathing, and maintain our lawns, gardens, and trees with it.  Unless we have the great fortune of owning a well, most of us pay for our water usage—as it comes into our homes as well as the waste-water that flows out of our homes.

In taking a focus on both the Bible and money, we feel very strongly about being good stewards of our water and have taken some measures to use water more efficiently.  While we have not implemented all the suggestions listed, I have taken ideas from fellow desert-dwellers whom I consider experts on using water wisely.

One thing I do that has saved us money on our water bill is to hand wash my dishes.  I do have a dishwasher and I may run it once or twice a week or occasions such as holidays when there is a larger number of dishes to wash.  Dishwashers are more efficient when they are filled completely, allowing you to save more on electricity and water than washing by hand.  Since I tend to do two or three smaller rounds of dishes each the day, I have found washing by hand to be a more efficient use of our water because I can control how much water I use.  I also use a portable basin for rinsing the dishes so that I am able to take the basin outside to water our grapefruit tree or other plants.  Aside from saving water, I also think hand-washing helps our dishes last longer, saving us the expense of replacing them.

Another source of water for our plants is the condensation spout from the air conditioner.  I only learned of this little trick recently because I didn’t even realize we had such a spout.  The water was just dripping into the gravel and I didn’t even know it.  Once I found it and experimented with capturing this water, I was pleasantly surprised by the yield.  Some days there has actually been enough water to give the plants in our garden a nice drink or for our grapefruit tree to get a good soaking.

On a similar note, we have friends who have installed gutters on their homes and have barrels to collect the rainwater. Even though we don’t get a significant amount of rain here in the desert, channeling the rainwater in this way has given them the ability to maintain a year-round garden.  

Collecting “gray water” such as the rinse water from washing the dishes or even collecting the water in the shower while waiting for the water to warm up is a great source of water for our plants, trees and gardens.  In fact, while we’re on the subject of the shower, keeping the shower times shorter is equally important when it comes to reducing the water bill.  Low-flow shower-heads are also available to help in this area.

Another helpful hint I was given is to place a brick in the toilet tank to displace the water.  The tank still fills with enough water to allow the valve to rise and shut off the water flow, but it takes less water to do so.

Common sense might indicate that we should turn off the water when we are shaving or brushing our teeth, but we might justify leaving it on because these practices generally don’t take a lot of time and the amount of water saved seems minuscule.  However, the idea is to make a difference and every effort counts whether it saves a little or a lot.  Ultimately, it’s about being good stewards of what God provides.

I hope these ideas have been helpful and that one or more of them are new and worth trying.  Of course, these ideas are not exhaustive, so if you have an idea that was not mentioned, please click on contact us and share your ideas.

“And every excellent work will be justified and the worker will be honored in it.”~Sirach 14:21

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