July 4, 2007

how many gallons is this?

I can't believe it took me so long, but today I celebrated Independence Day by sticking a bucket in our shower.

water2

Then I showered. The bucket caught about a gallon of water (it was a short shower).

By my calculations, considering that I shower once a day (generally), and that I travel some and shower away from home a not-insignificant amount, I believe this here bucket will spare about 300 gallons a year from the city water treatment plant.

For good measure, I stuck a high-tech basin in the bathroom sink. Washing my hands fills it about halfway. Washing my face fills it completely. Then it's dumped into the bucket.

water1

I bet we could conservatively call that another 30 gallons a year. Of course, 2 people live here and we have my partner's water usage to consider... so we're up to about 660 gallons per year (or 2,500 liters to the rest of the world). That's more than 12 gallons per week, out to our garden beds.

flower1

How many flowers do you reckon that would water?

...and why did it take me so long to stick a bucket in the shower?

24 comments:

melanie said...

What a fantastic idea! I wish I had thought of it, but I'm very glad you shared. Now I need to go find a bucket...

.:soplador:. said...

me too, thanks!

Greet said...

I get about the same. I got my baby tomatoes (planted in containers) through our spring drought with such a bucket.

Rhea said...

I've thought about doing the same. A great illustration of how much water we waste.

holly said...

a question: are there ingredients in shampoos, soaps, conditioners, etc that would be harmful to plants, especially those in the veggie garden? it seems soapy water could do something nasty but i'm not sure! would love to add this to our home but i don't want to kill our tomatoes or make them inedible!

thanks,

Ruth Singer said...

I have often thought this would be a great idea, and have been trying to persuade the household (who own the place and make the decisions!). it's a bit hard to win this argument when we have almost constant rain and lots of floods this summer!

re: Holly's question about soaps - perfect reason to make sure you are using natural, plant -origin and chemical free products. Dilute soap wont hurt your plans and helps keep greenfly off. I grew delicious tomatoes last summer in a window box entirely watered with my washing up water. I even grew a mini-sunflower which must have come from my muesli dregs in the washing up!

ramona said...

great idea. i just wish i knew where to put the water from the bucket. i have no garden (but a balcony) but usually it's so humid and wet here, that the plants don't need additional water. i wonder if there's a way to fill the toilet with it...

Greenjeans Adventure said...

Fantastic idea!!

If you don't need the water for flower beds, you can also pour the full bucket of water into your toilet bowl to trigger the flush. That will save lots of fresh water too!

jessecoug said...

Can someone please explain to me how putting gray water in your toilet helps? I have heard about it a few times but don't understand the mechanics enough to know how it helps.

I re-use my cat's water bowl water for my plants (I put it in a pitcher and water the plants out of it) but I don't have that many plants.

And I'd like to try this bucket in the shower thing as well - it might help me to take shorter showers as I can see the bucket fill up!

Eleanor said...

re: toilet watering

I would think that you wouldn't want to put the water into the bowl, but into the tank up top since that's where the water that actually flushes the toilet comes from. But then you'd have to rig some sort of a system with the float so that it's not filling the tank automatically...

?

Carrie said...

AMBER!!!! Aampco System Parking anyone? Where you at girl? I totally put bricks in my toilet. And speaking of buckets, I've even been peeing in a bucket staying at my brother's house living in the garage. ha! Write! CARRIE HALL

Anonymous said...

You can indeed pour the water directly into the bowl; as long as there is enough of it (a gallon or so), it will create enough of a siphon effect for the toilet to flush:

How Toilets Work

Mama Molly said...

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ambataliafabrics.blogspot.com

Jenny said...

Hi! This blog has been nominated for Bloggers for Positive World Change.

Cate said...

This is a fantastic idea! Glad I stumbled on this blog. I'm always looking for easy things we can do to be green. Thank you!

Jennifer said...

I need to do this as well. I'll get the bucket out of the garage over the weekend! Thanks~

Jodie said...

This is great. My only worry would be soaps and products. We're planning on putting in a water catchment system for our house this winter as well.h

tania said...

brilliant- this only just occured to me recently as well, but i have not added the bucket yet. next on my list!
:)

Anonymous said...

Growing up we had water rationed.
250 ml of water to wash our face and mouth for brushing teeth.
And Around 5 litres for taking a shower.
Coming to this country it was very difficult to find buckets. It was the first thing I bought when I did my shopping and to get one in K Mart in Memphis was difficult.

Linz said...

Wow. I have so much to think about already, and this post blows my mind about how much water I must waste.

What an amazing blog! Thanks for being here!

Rebecca said...

I love this idea! I have a well and I never even thought of saving shower water for the plants.

crafty chica said...

this is a great way to save up water.. recently we are having water problems and the municipality found an easy way to high up water bills instead of convincing big factories to have measures or sorts... duh.. again no garden or even plants but i second the flush idea... it could save tons of water (and money)..

Anonymous said...

Brac Greywater Recycling System

Southern Energy Solutions of Marietta, Georgia, in suburban Atlanta, is a dealer of a packaged system called the Brac Greywater Recycling System.

The Brac System takes in greywater, also spelled graywater (bath/shower/laundry/air conditioner condensate), filters and treats it, then sends it on demand to be reused for toilet flushing. This can save the average homeowner 30% or more on potable water usage.

This system is most easily installed in new construction or major remodeling of homes because of plumbing considerations.

Southern Energy Solutions
http://www.soenso.com

Anonymous said...

You can also flush your toilet with this water :)