Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Saving Water

Interesting story in the Ukiah Daily Journal today about some folks in Mendocino County that have made some rather dramatic savings in water use the last few years. I've actually been thinking of doing similar things and I was pleased to see that we're not the only people that don't flush our toilet every time we use it.

I know. Some people get grossed out at the thought leaving a toilet full of pee. A friend of mine seemed really bugged by it. He'd always say, "You know that's not healthy for you". Hey, think of all the water we save and, yes, I do flush it more than once a day and we always flush it after taking a poop. We've lived that way for I don't know how long and I don't know of any problems resulting from it. Wonder just how much money it saves us, if any?

Another thing we started doing earlier this year (and should of been doing since we lived here) is saving the water that would normally go down the drain when we're trying to get warm water in the bathroom. It seems to take forever for the water to get hot in this house and we've wasted God knows how much water waiting for it to warm up.

I think Connie is the one that started it. We put 5 gallon tubs or buckets under the faucet in the shower. By the time they're filled up, the water's usually warm enough. Then we lug the tubs outside to the back yard where she can use them for watering plants. I'll have to admit it's a hassle and is getting old but it's nice knowing we're not wasting the water.

We really should do the same when we need warm water in the kitchen as that takes a long time, too, but it's an extra hassle there as we might need to get dishes and such out of the sink to make room for the tub. Maybe one of these days...

As an aside, in reading the comments to the UDJ story, one commentator mentioned something I was wondering about: Shouldn't all that water running off the roof be allowed to flow into the rivers and help the fish? I don't know, but I can't imagine a few households saving rainwater being that big of a problem.

What if everybody did it?
I would think most of the water would soak into the ground near the house. Still, the ground needs water too.

Another comment said that in some states it's illegal to collect rainwater. Wow! What's that all about?

Labels: , ,


At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Mr. Nice said...

In places where water harvesting is illegal, this is charged as property theft. The rationale is that offenders are collecting water owned by another entity (usually the local water district). This is supposed to be similar to if you owned land but not the mineral rights to the parcel but you went ahead and starting mining your backyard for limestone. These laws are usually only present in places with a single entity holding a monopoly on water rights combined with low rainfall. It is also illegal to collect snow in places which ban rainwater collection. In some places with these laws, it is also illegal to reuse water supplied by the water district or water company... so taking a bath, neutralizing the water, and then pumping the bathwater out through a hose running out of the window into a drip system in your backyard (like I do) is illegal. These places also tend to have strict regulations against leaving plant material (leaves, etc.) laying near gutters as this stresses the water treatment plants with fertilizer runoff from nitrates leaching out of the fallen leaves. Further, it is often customary for the police to go around and ticket people who dare to water their lawns in the summer as lawn watering is considered unauthorized use of water property.

As for toilet hygeine, this is counterintuitive. The more often you flush the toilet, the higher the bacteria count becomes due to fecal bacteria becoming airborne. However, the bacteria created by toilet flushing is very, very minor compared to bacteria and Candida rapidly colonizing in female maxi pads and/or tampons in the bathroom trash. When women go through menopause, the germ level in their bathrooms whether shared or not goes down significantly.

The kitchen sink is the typical place where most household bacteria thrive. This is especially true if you wash dishes often. The running water spreads the bacteria into a fine mist that coats all nearby surfaces, especially those around the sink.

Contrary to popular belief, the lowest levels of bacteria in the typical household are those in male-only bachelor pads as males very rarely push bacteria into the air via bacteria propulsion devices (some people call these "vacuums"), giving beneficial bacteria a chance to grow and neutralize any potentially infectious colonies. Men also do not use sanitary napkins, rarely flush, and almost never clean the kitchen. All of this results in aerobic beneficial bacteria out-competing the more dangerous anaerobic varieties and yeast being a virtual non-issue.

So... technically, not flushing the toilet is actually "good" for you. It matters little compared to the level of staph and e.coli in the average kitchen sink (especially when women are constantly killing off the beneficials with sponges and 409) or the average laundry room due to the high levels of bacteria from underwear being agitated in the fecal bacteria spreading chambers... I mean washer and dryer.

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Mr. Nice said...

I should add to any quasi-OCD germophobes that may be not wanting to ever flush their toilet again that washing your hands negates the possibility of most bacterial infections... aside from E.coli in hamburger meat or something.


Post a Comment

<< Home