05 January 2007

Water wise habits

With water being so scarce (Melbourne's water supply is under 48% of capacity) and restrictions so tight I have become even more aware of the amount of water we are using in the house and what it is being used for.

Both showers now have permanent buckets in them to catch the overflow. I scrounged a great big, really old kitchen timer from my Mum and each shower is timed to be 5 minutes. I turn the timer as soon as the bathroom door closes, so they'll need to be really fast if they want to get any time under the water.

Instead of mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors every day, I have put some vinegar and water into a spray bottle and pinned a microfibre cloth to the mop head. Now I just squirt the spots and run the cloth over them. The floors are staying surprisingly clean, so maybe I've been working too hard all these years. A once a week mopping with hot, soapy water and the floor mop will do for deep cleaning.

I've cut washing back to absolutely full loads only. Soaking whites and stains is now done in a bucket rather than the laundry sink. This saves on soaker too.

Hannah has made cute signs and we have laminated them for the toilets:
“If it's yellow, let it mellow.
If it's brown, flush it down.”

We have dual flush toilets, but I've also put small bottles of water in the cisterns. I'll let you know if it causes any problems.

I've put a smaller basin in the laundry sink for hand washing. I found that the bigger the basin the more water we seemed to use. I've asked the kids to watch the water level – no deeper than the second knuckle on their index finger. That should give them plenty of water to wash in.

And don't think Wayne has escaped. This weekend he's going to do a “leak check” of all the taps and pipes, inside and out, and the toilets. As far as I know we don't have any leaking taps, but I'd like to be sure about the pipes and outside taps.

I've filled a jug with water and put it in the fridge. This is for drinking, no more running the tap until it's cool or turning the tap on then getting the glass under.

These are all only small savings, but from little things big things grow so add all these little things together and we will save a lot of water.

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