Water restrictions - what are you doing about it???

april15(VIC Aust)January 21, 2004

Well I am interested to know how all the gardeners who are effected by the water restrictions are managing? Perhaps if we post our ideas andwatering habits at this time we can help each other out. We have installed a 3600lts water tank, but the rain stopped just about than. We have redirected the water from our evaporative cooling to empty into the tank. Today was garbabge collection day, so I have 2 empty bins, I collected my rinse water from my washing into the bins,that 380lts of water! I have to work out how to get the water out of the wheelie bins onto my garden. Have to empty them so I have somewhere to put the garbage. Well what do you do to save water and perhaps water areas that you otherwise would not be able to?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Collect the cold water you send down the drain waiting for the water to get warm enough to shower, wash the dishes etc. Very few (if any) regions of the U.S. are under water restrictions at this time thanks to cool weather. It'll be a different story this summer, but few people are thinking about that right now.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2004 at 12:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's sad that even though most of us are not under water restrictions we don't use it judiciously. Put a bucket in the shower, catch water while you shower and use that to flush your toilet. Suds up the car after a rain shower so the first soak is free and you pay for the rinse. Wash dishes by hand and use the wash and rinse water for plants (this accumulates about 5 gallons a day for us). Scoop out bath water for plants. Save your washing machine rinse water to use for the next wash cycle. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2004 at 11:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wash your car on the lawn, Use your washing machine water to wash the car. Use ammonia to wash your floors then pour on plants (good fertilizer too)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2004 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
april15(VIC Aust)

Well guys, thanks for your interest, I would have thought the response would have come from Aussies. instead I get a couple of Americans who are very interested in water conservation. That is what we should be doing all year round than maybe we would not have to ration the water supplies :( I have a brother who has a landscaping business( for the people from Melb. Vic. he lives out at Wallan). Beause his property is over an acre and a bit, he has had to dig a bore and he waters his garden with that. Apparently the quality of the water is not good enough for drinking.
Us Aussies also have this thing about having to have the perfect green lawn! I would be only to happy to doaway with mine. We live on a corner allotment and have a front lawn and a 17 meter long strip down the side street. It takes a great deal of water fertiliser and time to keep this green. Council says we are obliged for its upkeep even though it's council property. Also my front lawn extends all the way to the street. There is no pavment between my front garden and the road! Of course my property stops before the road, but again we are responsible for maintaining that area even though it is regarded as crown land and if the postman wishes to take a short cut across this part of the garden he has every right to.
Does this made sense to the Americans how do things work in you part of the world?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2004 at 12:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unfortunately yes it does "ring a bell" here. In some communities there are restrictions regarding what must be grown--with absolutely no connection to other things like water restrictions or nature.

Are you able to plant things that do not need much water (xeriscape) or only grass. If grass, is there a percentage that must be in grass? There are many ideas on the drought and xeriscape (is there one for this or am I dreaming?) forums where you can learn what to plant instead of grass. Also, you might try the permaculture and edible landscaping forums for some more ideas.

Personally I disagree with the cavallier attitude that because something is inexpensive, it should therefore be wasted. Every dollar (lira, peso,etc..) that can be saved on water could be spent on raising the standard of living for ALL people in whatever countries boundaries they may fall where they are lacking basic things like medical care, water, food, etc..

    Bookmark   January 26, 2004 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pattilacy(z8 TX)

We use bath water and washing machine water to do almost all of our outdoor watering. Thankfully we live in the country so no one really cares if we ever even mow the lawn much less plant one. We reserve our water usage for the veggie garden, the fruit trees and a few flowering areas. Everything else has to fend for itself. We do have an abundance of oak trees that provide the fruit trees and gardening areas with a lot of mulch and it really helps to cool the soil and keep the moisture in. I am in Texas and tomatos usually stop producing in Late July thru August because of our 95+ (usually 100+) weather. We were able to keep their roots cool enough this year to have tomatos all summer long. Again no one really bothers us here because we are in the country. I don't know if they would let you use big piles of leaves as mulch around your bigger items. The piles settle down to a few inches by spring but we usually have 8-12 inches of leaves when we first pile them on.
I am not familiar with your climate and how much rain you get during your growing season. I did have a friend in a dry area that used her wash water in a lot less time consuming way. Her husband built a series of pvc pipe (white plastic like pipe) and ran them all over her garden area. He drilled holes throughout it and everytime she washed clothes the water would empty out through the pipes and water for her. Again, she was in the country and there were no close neighbors to complain about any runoff to their yard. Also she ran a lot of laundry every week. We don't personally use that much wash water. If you could get away with it, it might be something to consider....

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 10:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
april15(VIC Aust)

Pattilace, We already use the laundry water, but there is not much of that since there ar only two of us. I do use a seep hose which is buried in the rose bed. The roses share the space with other vegies that just sprung up out of the compost. I also have parsley that will only grow under the Iceberg Rose along with the feverfew!
We have regulations imposed on us buy councils so that property prices stay up. In the suburbs we are sort of jammed up along each other. A country property would be heaven.........

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 4:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
earthworm(6 Pennsylvania)

Economics plays quite a role in this, along with aesthetics.

Here in America, the home of the free waster, we(99 %) do not begin to know how to conserve..

But we also have glimmers of light.

Where I live we have plenty, an nearly inexhaustible supply of mulch (leaves, chipped wood and trimmings, some trash). The lawn shrinks, its never watered anyway, regardless of the rainfall, and the garden grows..
I use slow watering (drip method)..

I have doubts with the laundry rinse water, but after it has been soil filtered it may be ok. A pressure washer is used on the house and cars - these babies conserve a good deal. I imagine in Australia, the models are a lot more efficient. We also have "water efficient" washing machine , aka , side loaders, or front loaders.

I know of one community (Shiloh, York county) that charges people on a water consumption basis, along with the sewer bill.

I would rather have a $20 water and sewer bill rather than $40 every month..

But we are really in the infancy of water conservation here in the states; last year it was a case of too much rain.

In the future, houses will have huge internal plastic water reservoirs, that will serve for heat in the wintertime and garden watering in the summer time. The county will have a service that will be able to sample the "foul" water and determine its next use, which maybe only lawn watering, but better with some treatment - vegetable garden irrigation.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 8:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
april15(VIC Aust)

Hi earthworm,
Here in Melbourne we pay for water consumpution along with a lot of other water related services! We do have pressure washers, we take our cars to the car wash every six weeks or so. The water is recyled for these kind of facilities.
Very few people have endless mulch supplies so we purchase ours. I also have a compost heap and that helps. My next step is to get straw and use it as mulch wher my veggie garden is. Our lawn has also shrunk. We have had rain in the last 24 hours, but nature is fickle! 20 mins away they had floods we just had enough to wet the ground.
Here in Auss schools are teaching children from an early age about conservation of resources. It is something we didn't know about when I was young. We didn't know the word conservation let alone what the word meant. Schools have have flower and veggie gardens organised soley by students. This is the way for futher generations. At last we are doing something positive, I just hope it won't be too late.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 10:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
earthworm(6 Pennsylvania)

Well, someone must be doings things correctly, it must be your parents, if not the schools. Successful people are home schooled 10 to 90 %.. Humans do respond well to rough conditions.
But I don't think we know what "rough" means. Here in America, "waste" is a way of life.. earthworm

************** ***************

Wash your car on the lawn, Use your washing machine water to wash the car. Use ammonia to wash your floors then pour on plants (good fertilizer too)

------------------------------------------------------------The last time I even had a car on the lawn, she, a '53 Studebaker v8 became hopelessly stuck.. I doubt if any man in the borough of York Haven waters their lawn, some do not even have a grassy area, it is some like a micro-city... I would fear for my life if I were to use ammonia on the kitchen floor, water, straight water is the only thing..

OOOOOOppps, I lied, the waste water from the basement sink is thrown on the front lawn, i would never use this odious mixture on the garden !

    Bookmark   January 30, 2004 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Okay, now you need a view from the American Southwest (aka the Great American Desert). In Mexico the desert region continues as the Sonoran Desert and (I don't know how to spell it) Chijuajuan Desert. 7 of the last 10 years have been drought years, and many cities have had water restrictions for longer than that. The term Xeriscape came out of a long-term program in Denver, Colorado, to try to reduce water use because they were having to pipe in water across a mountain range to keep up with growth.

I live in alpine desert conditions at about 7500 feet above sea level. 10 years ago we averaged 15-18 inches of precipitation a year. In 2003 we had 9 inches. (Sounds like a lot if you live in a low-altitude desert. Living on a mountain side helps us catch some high-altitude moisture out of the air.)

Water-harvesting and cisterns are suddenly all the rage here, but for the most part you have to retro-fit for them. A lot of the houses in the Southwest have flat roofs or very low pitches, making rain gutters a bit difficult to apply. Also we live in a freezing climate (USDA Zone 5 can get down to 25 degrees F below zero, and remember that zero F is considerably below freezing), so cisterns have to be either large volume or buried so they don't ever freeze solid. Unfortunately, a lot of new homes are going in with still no thought of building these features in (my cousin and her husband are building a yuppy mansion that is absolutely NOT conserving on either energy (no solar) or water (no water harvesting)). About 10 years down the road more retrofitting will happen, I hope.

Another unfortunate fact of life here is laws that actively discourage conservation. This year, after years of water restrictions, New Mexico (USA) passed state laws actually permitting grey water use on landscaping, but not on vegetables or fruits for human consumption. Until this year grey water irrigation was ILLEGAL. In many states it still is. But grey water still cannot be stored for later use, it must be dispersed on the landscape at the time it is generated.

This summer, if I have any time left over when I'm not playing with my 2yo twins and working full time, I plan to put in a French drain (gravel trench with a drainage tile/pipe) leading to a pumice wick (absorbant lava rock/gravel trench that holds water for the roots of plants planted on either side of the trench), all buried about a foot deep under our dry clay soil. This will be to direct my laundry water into the landscape. (I'll be puting in a row of blueberry bushes along the wick, thereby breaking the rule about no human consumption--na na na!) The bathtub is on the other side of the house, not easily plumbed directly to the outside, so I'll be running the water out the window with a hose to the lavender bed--strictly landscape there.

And if I don't finish these projects this coming summer, well, I will be living here for a long time and will keep working on it.

Remember, the USA is big, and just as Aus has wet areas and dry areas, we have areas that flood every year and areas that don't see rain for ages.

Catherine in the Big Dry (except it is snowing right now)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2004 at 5:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
beckyishere(6 IL)

Ok a view from S IL. We live in an old farm house, and our home, and all the homes around us have cisterns. We must conserve water, because running out of water is a major hassel! We are building a special pond for our washer run off this summer, with a pump to redirect the water when it is watering time. We plan on planting water loving plants around it and hide the fact that it is grey water.
Save rainwater for your garden, again we use a pond, complete with fishes. We use a vacume to pull the water off the bottom, so we get the rich fish poo. This one is right in the front of our home, and people always tell us how wonderful it looks with its fountains and flowers, no one has to know it is a rain water container.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2004 at 7:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
april15(VIC Aust)

My opinion of water conservation I don't think its a rage as much as a neccessity. In years gone buy the only place you saw a water tank in Australia would have been on farmhouses and old homesteads and out on sheep stations. Now that we have been using our water as if it were flowing from a never ending spring, and of couse the population is growing so there is more water needed than say ten years ago, the govenments are not building any more dams so the alternative is to have your own water tank!.
Unfourtunatly when building new homes there is not enough thought going into them. People think about all the comforts but neglect to think of solar power or how to make the best use of winter heat and summer brezze. They neglect to think hard about setting up their gardens. They just think about how good they are going to look and forget how much water they shall need to keep them that way.
I don't blame consumers for all this since I think that builders and councils need to get together and set up ways
regarding the use of water conservation on private property.
It is difficult to use grey water when all the house plumbing is internall!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2004 at 7:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
woco(z6 UT)

Just a few things. We have been in a drought in Utah for 5 years now. Last year in Salt Lake City, the people saved so much water that the water company had to raise their rates. They did not have enough money coming in to cover their bills because people were not using the water. I to wash my dishes by hand but I saw a dishwasher display on the today show (I think), the new dishwashers only use 4 gallons of water each time they wash your dishes. That is just over 2 flushes of the toilet. This year we have had good snow fall and we are at 101% of normal. Have a good one...........

    Bookmark   February 6, 2004 at 9:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Judeth(Z8 B.C. Can)

Hello Australia from the Beautiful Sunshine Coast of Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I've been to Melbourne, my sisters family are around Sydney and up in Queensland.
We live with two wells.
Many years ago when I had a wringer washer and a tub on the table to rinse the diapers (befor disposable) I had a syponing hose. It was like a upside down "Y". At the join of the arms, there was a metal "y". with plastic hose over it. Take the straight piece, screw it onto the facet. Say, the right part of the arm "y" had a piece of hose that sat in the tub. The other part of the "Y" had a piece of hose that screwed onto the garden hose and went outside. You turned the facet on a bit, then "off" and the water syphoned outside. Hard to describe, can draw it better. You maybe able to get them at places that sell fish pond equipment
After 42 years of using this, it gave up. I now have a little think I bought at Lee Valley in Vancouver, B.C. It sits in the bottom of the Utility Tub. A piece of hose screws onto the facet and one end of the "thing", the garden hose screws onto the other end of it. There is a hole in the middle of it. Turn the facet on, then off and it syphones.
This won't do up the hill behind the house, so I stand the sumppump in the tub and pump it out, it will even run the oscolating sprinkler.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2004 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Clara_Listensprechen(z7 OK)

Using "brown water" (bathtub water, washer water, stuff out of non-solidwaste drains) is naturally a solution that comes up first, and it's a good one. Being able to use water directly from a well so as to not put demand on processed (chlorinated, among other things) drinking water is also good. As is collecting rainwater so long as you keep the mosquitoes and other disease-bearing critters out of it. Zeriscape is a good idea only if you don't wanna grow stuff you wanna eat, though.

But there's other little things I'd like to suggest which make a huge difference in vegetable gardening even in stuff like desert-type hardpan.

1) Mulch. A good layer of mulch keeps the sun from drying your soil to quickly, thus reducing need to water frequently.

2) Pretend that your garden patch is a container garden, with the native soil as the walls of that container; infill with rotted leaf material; this provides not just desirable leaf mold and worm habitat, but it also intensifies the amount of moisture-retaining substance.

3) Sink, not raise, your beds. Again with the pretend-container scenario, this is especially useful where rain runs off more than it soaks into the soil, for you've also created a kind of funnel directing runoff into the garden patch where, once in, won't run off to elsewhere.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2004 at 1:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   February 16, 2004 at 1:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lando(VIC Aust)

Hi April15....I'm also in VIC (Yarraville) and concerned about getting around water restrictions. I"m recycling as much water as I can (from washing up and so on), but I'm quite concerned about using grey water on my edibles. (My main interest is in growing things for the family to eat.) I'm now starting to think that even throwing it on the grass and other 'insignificant' plants might not be such a good idea as it would all filter through to the other plants...right? i'm trying to buy products that claim to be 'environmental', but it such a gimmick now that I don't know who I can trust/believe.
there was a bit of a discussion over in the organics forum on grey water use...have you seen that?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2004 at 8:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
april15(VIC Aust)

I Like the sink and not raise the garden bed idea, just worried about plants that don't like wet feet. No chance of that at the moment!
I'm still using grey water, in fact I am not even using the dish washer. I have a large plastic basin the the kitchen sink and when the dishes are done I empty it on the front garden. If I boil an egg of vegies that too goes on the vegie patch.
I don't use grey water on the vegies but I do use it on the flower garden and the lawn. You should see our side lawn its the envy of all our neighbours! house! It's the envey We have been away for 7 days and hubby was concerned about his precious lawn. Well surprise surprise!
He had to cut it using the catcher first and then he was able to cut it again and leave the clippings on the lawn, this helps to prvent scorching. I have been using the lawn clippings on the garden beds, it help the soil from drying out so quickly.
I have also found that watering plants when they start to look a little wilted tends to toughen them up!
The fruit and vegies we buy from the green grocer are commercially grown with tons of pesticides, fertiliser and only God knows what else, so do you think that a little grey water every now and than would really hurt???

    Bookmark   February 20, 2004 at 7:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lando(VIC Aust)

April15, it sounds like we're doing very similar things. And when I buy stuff from the supermarkets, I AM really concerned about the junk they are putting on the fruit and veg. Particularly as I have a two yr old and a baby, and I've read that pesticides and so on can affect their little bodies a whole lot more than ours. (Leading to things like ADHD and so on.) I am trying to buy soaps and so on that claim to be organic or at least 'environmentally friendly' (but given that anyone can write that on their packaging, whom can you trust??) but I've just heard around the traps that grey water is really bad for edible plants. I'd love to know more about it, but it seems a little hard to scratch the surface. I was wondering if you knew more about it, or at least something like which products are better than others for using in water that will end up on the plants.

But, like you, I've been using it quite liberally on the lawn (particularly the nature strip), and the neighbours are probably thinking that we're breaking water restrictions!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2004 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Linda96(z6 NM)

Catherine in NM described our situation here pretty well. I live and garden at 5,200ft., a high desert climate. Our home has low water use fixtures and appliances. The dishwasher uses about 3 gallons per full load and the washer about a third of conventional washers. There's double savings on the washer as it hold a huge load of clothing. We compost all kitchen scraps, which reduces the amount of water down the disposal. I load the garden beds with compost, peat moss, newspaper etc. and mulch. Last year, I used shredded junk mail and papers from work (without the shiny paper) as mulch. It worked really well. The landscaping yet to be planted will be largely xeric, with the water going to the veggies. I use TerraSorb crystals generously.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2004 at 10:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
april15(VIC Aust)

Hi I'm back! we did go away for one week in Feb. and since than we have been renovating non stop. Well I'm happy to say that last week we did have some rain, first in about 6 weeks. Our water tank is approx 2/3 full. I still use all the water from the laundry on the lawns.
Last week my neighbour was telling me how he had the police at his place asking why we had a green lawn when everyone else has dirt and dry grass. He had to explain the lenghts we go to, to water that lawn. The front lawn which runs down hill is'nt as green. It grows in tufts but it is still better than any other lawn in the street. Now don't think that thiwss is a competion as to who has the greenest lawn because it's not. It's just a matter of having put in turf at a great expense not much more than 12 months ago and than having it die seems a waste in itself. The rain seems to have made the garden a little greener! or is it my imagination??

    Bookmark   April 3, 2004 at 6:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
april15(VIC Aust)

Hi all it's been a while since anyone posted anything on this thread. I have something I would like to share with you. I have a brother who is a landscapper among other things. We got to talking on the weekend regarding the water restrictions and he mentioned that he has been installing a lot of bores for homeowners. The other thing that I was really interested in was this, he said if only architects and home owners get together with landscappers before plans are drawn up the landscapper can work in with everyone so that he/she can organise a watering system for the household. Apparently a system is available where all the household water other than the toilet is pumped into a receptecal and it waits there untill it needs to be used for the garden. A lot of water is saved this way. I wish this system was around when we built our present home 2 and a bit years ago. Oh well I think it's a wonderfull idea, it is more technicall that I have mentioned of course but i'm sure you all get the idea.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2004 at 1:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for your information. I noticed this weekend when looking at a picture of Australia in an exhibit about rivers at the Chattanooga aquarium that there are huge portions of northern australia with no(at least large) rivers. So there must be vast areas of arid lands there.

Could you explain the term "bores"? I think you must be referring to the receptacle? We would refer to that as a cistern?

Of course areas in our west that are arid make much more use of water saving measures--but we ALL should! In this area during the depression--many houses were built with cisterns to collect rainwater for use. Now why would this terrific idea go out of fashion? My builder looked at me like I was crazy when I brought it up. I fought for rain barrels with the gutter man (won too). If it were easier--more folks would do it. Why aren't the big box building stores selling rain barrel kits and do it yourself cisterns?

And why are water saving measures not only available out west but also ENCOURAGED when some things are ILLEGAL where I live?????

    Bookmark   May 24, 2004 at 9:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
april15(VIC Aust)

Hi mid tn mama, good to hear from you. So you have been looking up our geography! good for you. Yes Australia has a great Big Desert. You don't want to get stuck out there, that's for sure.
To answer you question, a Bore is the equivilant to a Well.A large drilling machine is used to drill the earth sometimes many hundred meters deep. Water is found at the end of the process. This water is not usually good for human consumption. Test have to be done to accertain the quality of the water. An electric pump is used to draw the waterfrom the bore. The water is ok to use on the garden.
In outback Austalia you can still see water tanks and dams on sheep and cattle stations, althought these are few and far between these days.Although you need rain to fill the dams and tanks.
Governments say it's too expensive to build new dams, but they are encourageing the populis to save water via various means they don't make it very attractive for the average person. You can get small rebates for installing water saving implements in the home. The catch to this is you need to hire a plumber to install these implements and there goes your rebate.
When I told my builder that I wanted to build my house on stumps rather than a conceret slab he told me it would be too expensive. My reason for wantig to do this was so that my heating system would be installed under the flooring and thus have heat rising not dropping and I also wanted to use timber flooring. I did install parquetry a form of timber tiles. It cost me the same as if the house would have been built on stumps, not to mention that because of the land fall we needed extra concrete for the slab. We need to think extra hard befor we build our homes and think of the future.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2004 at 3:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had record rainfall this June in Houston, and it made me crazy because I had no way to store it! We veer wildly between floods and droughts here. I want to buy or make some old-fashioned rain barrels with a hose attachment at the bottom for those dry times. I'm considering using gray water, too, to a certain extent. My husband thinks you have to turn the faucet on full blast to rinse off a spoon - I'm not joking - and I am still trying to re-educate him! My teeth start to grind every time he's in the kitchen...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2004 at 3:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can not retrain a husband. Just blame it on his mother and let it go.
Don't use soaps with phosphorous (Not sure of the spelling). I have a large barrel to drain the washer. I don't use the wash water alone. Delute it. I also bail water from a small river that runs through a bog. Now there is some nasty smelling water that is all natural. I use 200 gallons of water on the gardens daily. Can't afford to waste the water from the well by putting it on the ground. The pipe for my kitchen sink is switched over in the summer time, so even that goes into the gardens. I don't live in an area that is prone to drought. I just can not allow my well to be sucked dry. To do that would be stupid on my part.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 11:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow! 200 gallons! How big is that garden? Are you mulching? What kind of soil do you have?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 10:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

Wow am I interested in this thread. We are at present building a home and we are making sure that the design includes allowing the use of gray water for outfoor watering...I am also having a rainwater collection system designed. We are looking at two different systems one a 1700 gallon and the other 2500 depending on the amount of money we want to spend...The old difference is in the size of the storage tanks....I am really excited about this because although we have a good well system with abundant water, in the summer time we are all asked to conserve water...I just moved to TX from MA and in MA we were always under restrictions...I want to have plenty of water for gardening so my beloved has agreed to put in this collection system for me...

    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 10:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tomatobob_va7(z7 VA)

What a great international chat! Kittysmith in Houston mentioned buying or making rainbarrels for water storage. If you want to make them, here's one way. Go to your local carwash (they must have them in OZ too) and ask for empty barrels. My place had 12 55 gallon containers waiting for the dump truck. I'm working now at fitting 4 of them to store rain for the garden this summer. Drill a hole in the top, insert a sabre saw blade and take off the top, leaving a 1" portion of the top around the rim for strength. For your fittings I recommend a 3M product called "marine sealant." good luck, tb in va

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
thorspippi(z9/s14 CA Sacramento)

Here in America, the home of the free waster, we(99 %) do not begin to know how to conserve..

oh, there speaks a non-Californian! At 43 y/o, I've spent a good part of my life having to deal with droughts, having to put up with low-flow toilets that you have to flush twice, and low-flow showers that spray needles of water that flay my skin off (etc)... :-)

Although, we're having a record rainfall this year and I expect *enormous* fires in the fall.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 10:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marie_in_wa(8 (coastal))

I haven't had to deal with much in the way of water rationing, but it looks like we may have a problem this summer unless we start getting a lot of rain here soon.

An easy way to save water is to put a brick or 2 in the toilet resovoir, that way it doesn't use up as much water every time you flush.

When you shower, turn on the water long enough to get wet, then turn it off while you soap up.

If you have the $ to spare - you can get a high efficiancy clothes washer. By replacing your old clothes washer with a new high-efficiency washer a family can save 5,100 gallons of water per year.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 2:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
naturemama(north georgia)

I don't know if people have finished with this thread, since the last post was FEb, but here in Atlanta, we are in a drought and interest is growing in graywater and other measures. We recently visited "The Hike Inn", a backcountry inn, 5 miles from Amicalola State Park, where they have composting everything including toilets. They had water barrels and their solution to protect against mosquitos was fine screens on the top opening.

I very much want to install a system for gray water in our house. We live on a spring fed lake, very clean and swimmable. There are no motor boats, just canoes, etc. I don't want any runoff from the graywater to affect the health of the lake. So this is my first question that I am researching.

i am interested in learning about a/c water runoff to use in a graywater system as well. It seems like there would be less concerns about bacteria from the a/c system.

I understand that graywater s hould be disinfected, but I was concerned about the use of chlorine as a healthy material to use in the yard, particularly near the water.

I have mostly woods and a woodland garden that needs less water than sun gardens or grass. Still, I want to keep the tree roots moist with soaker hoses. Also, I do have a flat area on our property where I want to grow grass for a play area for my kids and their friends, so I would like to use either graywater for this or perhaps get some pump system to use the lake water. I have heard that other residents on this lake use a pump to irrigate wtih lake water. I am not sure that graywater can be used for grass anyway, although I am not sure the reason for this....

If anyone has any information related to graywater systems and lake pumps, I would appreciate the feedback.. I am going to contact a plumber (or would I use a landscape/irrigation person), but first I want to do my homework and be up on the topic.

Thanks for any assistance.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 1:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's a good book on the subject, to help you with your research. I also found this site:


Good luck with your construction


Here is a link that might be useful: Greywater book

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 7:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dishwashers use less water than handwashing. To conserve water, only run FULL loads of laundry and wash towels only once per week.

As far as gardening goes, where I live, if it's green you mow it and call it a yard. I don't water--the grass goes dormant here when it gets hot, not dies.

In other places where watering's necessary, I'd replace as much as my lawn as I was allowed with other things. For example, you can start with hardscape--a wide path from the driveway to the front door and then another from the front door to the street can eat up good parts of a smallish yard. Then you can plant what you can get away with with low-water plants. Against the foundation and on either sides of the paths 3' out in either direction, and you have less left. *g* If you can get away with it, you can do the entire yard in *lush* xeriscape. High Country Gardens in Santa Fe has a website and a catalog that can give you tons of ideas, though I go elsewhere to actually buy.

My lazy-gardener approach is this: buy cheap, buy what grows well, plant fall and baby until spring, barely care for it the second year, and pretty much ignore it afterward, watering only when absolutely necessary. Plant more of what thrives and don't try to nurse what doesn't. This is what I did in the high semi-desert of nm--6,500 ft up.

For veggie gardens, collecting water from the roof and, when possible, having a greywater system is great. Water early morning or late evening with soaker hoses and drip irrigation. Water 1-2 times per week DEEPLY--shallow waterings are pretty useless--and you'll use less water. In the desert, I had to water twice as much. Make sure you start with great soil--that's usually a problem in dry areas.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 11:06PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Fasteners for low tunnels
I have just made a movable, 10 ft. long, low tunnel...
Planting Schedule
Our new neighborhood garden is located in Southern...
sowing kale seeds?
When can I sow kale seeds directly in ground in zone...
Help with my cilantro microgreens
Please excuse me as I couldn't find a forum just for...
What is everyone growing in their winter garden?
I live in coastal south carolina and this year am making...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™