March 20, 2007
The 40 Hour Drought - take part
When asked to join Sew Green I quite literally jumped at the chance. A blog of green-minded folk (from California to Vancouver, and recently more further a field) learning new green things together, who wouldn’t be tempted, who wouldn’t send back an immediate reply, “Yes, please! Count me in!”? So, here it is, all introductions aside in the first week, my first post, my first contribution to Sew Green, a blog that is sure to evolve into a green jungle of ideas, tips, experiences and a guide to handy, local and international resources. Cindy, Lisa S and Tracy have got it off to a flying start.
Reading Tracy’s post The grass is always greener earlier in the week on water consumption in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, in which she mentioned an alarming figure, “500 gallons of water a day (…1900 litres)”, tied in perfectly with what I wanted to write about today… water. Compare that figure with 208 litres residential daily water use per capita for Melbourne (2005-06).
Here in Victoria, and indeed the rest of Australia too, water is first and foremost on the minds of everyone. Water restrictions are enforced and new water saving ways have been embraced by the many (though not all, definitely not all). A whole host of new terms have been coined thanks to the growing ranks of plastic bucket people collecting the grey water from their showers and sinks to use on their garden beds. Who could have foreseen that scores of Melbournians would take to the bucket as their new shower companion with such gusto? That phone conversations would be cut short when it was time to divert the water from the washing machine... can’t have all that water simply going down the drain now, can we? Some shower with a foot firmly planted each inside a bucket whilst others prefer to place a bucket under the shower head as they wait for the hot water to kick in. Yes, the bucket brigade is growing in ranks especially as gardens dry up due to water restrictions enforced by drought. Down pipes have been altered so as to pour onto garden beds (that is, when it does actually drizzle) and, where possible, water tanks have been installed. So many inventive techniques have been adopted and reported about in the papers, so many ways to reuse your grey water (outdoor showers anyone? Yep, it’s already been done). So many ways to also reduce the amount of water being used as well. Water has become a precious commodity no one is wasting… showers are shorter, dripping taps are being repaired and water saving shower heads are being installed… bowls are placed in sinks to catch the excess from washing your hands to rinsing your tins for recycling.
For those not Melbourne based, we are, were I live, on stage three water restrictions which means (amongst other things) that even numbered houses can water their gardens on Saturday and Tuesday, whilst odd numbered houses can water on Sunday and Wednesday. Hand-held hoses fitted with a trigger nozzle, a watering can and a bucket can only be used between 6am-8am and 8pm-10pm two days a week, with no watering permitted on a Monday, Thursday or Friday. Other areas around the country have been on such restrictions for allot longer and south-east Queensland, as of the 10th of April, is about to step up to level five water restrictions.
All this talk of water brings me nicely to the nationwide community event, The 40 Hour Drought… which poses the question; can you manage with just 40 litres of water in a 40 hour period? Take part now and register here. It commences 7am, Wednesday the 21st of March through until 11pm, Thursday the 22nd of March (Hurry, there's just enough time). Louise and I will be taking part, how about you?
(Whilst this is ‘officially’ only for Australian residents in terms of registering to take part, I think it would be both a fun and worthwhile challenge for anyone, anywhere to try to limit there water consumption to an impressive 40 litres for a 40 hour period. 40 litres is 10.57 gallons.)
You’ll find handy water saving tips here (everything from using garden friendly detergents and cleaners low in salt, phosphorous and that are biodegradable to planting drought friendly plants).
I am off now to bucket my grey water around the foot of the white flowering hibiscus tree, and I'll keep you posted on how the 40 litre challenge goes.