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Water Conservation


Those of us who reside in the southwestern region of the country are bombarded almost daily about our responsibility to conserve water. Our water company gives away water conserving showerheads and offers home site visits to recommend ways to save water – for free. Our water rates have soared – maybe we’re paying for those ‘free’ home visits?

During my childhood, my parent’s water source was a well (actually, it still is. They’ve lived in the same house for 30 years). They never worried about water rates rising. They never had a water meter on their house. They simply had to worry about…

Their water source drying up.

Try selling a house with the very minor problem of no water.

Conservation was always a big deal in our house.

City living has spoiled me. I learned that showers longer than 2 minutes are a gift from God.

But our latest water crunch and water hikes have reminded me that conservation, in resources and in money, is my responsibility. I have conformed to the water company’s request that I take shorter showers (sometimes I skip all together… this has NOTHING to do with the fact that I usually skip a shower when I wake up late for work) and stop watering at least 20% of my lawn (since we don’t have a lawn, it’s fairly easy to stop watering it) but we’ve gone a step further – we rerouted our washer.

For $15, we bought some pipe and fittings to connect to our washer. All water now drains to our trees and roses.

We water our landscaping for free.

Those living in the southwest should consider this. Not only are you doing good for the environment, you’re saving money on your water bill.

(Just don’t forget to make sure your detergent is biodegradable)



    Tricia……CONGRATS AGAIN! By the way, who is Becks? Will she be picking up this blog site?? I was looking for her profile and couldn’t find it?? Thank you! I look forward to keeping up with your journey on life after credit card debt, while at the same time joining Becks on her mission to pay off debt. My payoff date is August, 2012…so still climbing that mountain!


  • Reply J-Bird |

    I suspect that most of the water rate increase is due more to the shortage of water than the “free” conservation visits. Water isn’t a limitless resource, and as supply goes down, cost goes up.

  • Reply FrugalMe |

    Just a we practice our money saving ideas to get up from a position of debt to wealth. so to can we practice water conservation. Here are some tips:
    1. when taking a shower put a bucket to fill the water you waste waiting for the temperature to reach your desired level
    2. take a bath using biodegradable soaps instead of showers and use the bath water for gardens etc
    3. put a brick in the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used with every flush.

    Hope these few ideas help.

  • Reply SaveBuyLive |

    You may want to consider checking your house for leaks. Those account for about 5% of all residential water use. The catch is that some houses are really leaky but most aren’t. Could be worth a look if your bill is really high compared to your neighbors.

    Outdoor water use accounts for almost 60% of most residential water use but it sounds like you’ve got that under control.

    You need to also target the toilets if you want to reduce water use. Toilets account for about 11% of residential water use (compared to 7% for showers). Consider checking your toilet for leaks by adding some food coloring to the tank. If the water in the bowl changes color you’ve got a leak.

    I hope that helps a bit.

  • Reply Wake Me Up! |

    DEBT FREE JOURNEY – Oh my god, if you are in debt then you are in someone’s pocket instead of your own!

    ‘Water isn’t a limitless resource…’
    WTF! wake up now… the world is 70% water and if you think that there isn’t enough to go around then you have been successfully brainwashed! Remember it never stops raining…

    ‘put a brick in the toilet tank…’I hope that helps a bit.
    Try putting the brick on your brick head and turning around 3 times in front the toilet as it is flushing… or instead just fill a 500ml pet bottle with WATER and achieve the same thing.

    ‘Consider checking your toilet for leaks by adding some food coloring to the tank. If the water in the bowl changes color you’ve got a leak…’
    Or your toilet in its infinite wisdom decides to deposit the water from the tank (with coloring [sic]) into the bowl for flushing purposes (i didn’t make this up).

    I hope that helps – a bit!

  • Reply Mrs. Moderntightwad |

    FYI, you do have to be careful with this. Many areas consider this to be a “grey water recycling system” that is against code (illegal), like here in Las Vegas.

  • Reply Brittany |

    Not sure what’s wrong with “Wake Me Up” who commented above. Beks, it could be that your utility has raised water rates because water in the Southwest is getting more scarce. The snowpack that melts into the Colorado is getting smaller and melting sooner each year, which makes water more scarce for residential, industrial, and commercial users. What you could do is check your bills to see if your volume of use has increased. If it has dramatically increased, you should have your house checked for leaks (start with the toilet, it’s usually the culprit). If it hasn’t, it’s a rate increase that probably has nothing to do with the free visits. It’s in the company’s interest to help you save water since it gets increasingly expensive for them to buy water to deliver to your house via the tap.

  • Reply Maggie |

    This is a great idea and I want to do it! (Washing machine water -> landscaping.) Can anyone recommend biodegradable detergents to use?

  • Reply Maggie |

    Second thought: guess you can’t use bleach in your laundry water if you do this, right?

  • Reply Conservation Betty |

    While the idea of rerouting your washing machine water to water your plants may seem like a great idea, you really need to be careful about this. Like Mrs. Moderntightwad stated, in some areas this is considered illegal.

    Also, you need to look at the environmental impact this is having. There are a lot of chemicals in detergents (ie- phosphates) that are not good for plants and the environment. You may think you are doing the earth a favor, but in the end you may be poisoning the land and ground water. While detergent companies are working on getting rid of phosphates and other chemicals used in detergents, you can’t be sure that phosphate free detergents are considered environmentally friendly. Check with your state or local environmental conservation group for safe detergents, otherwise I think you are doing more harm than good at this point.

  • Reply Beks |

    Maggie – Yes, you are correct. Bleaching is not an option. You need to use earth friendly detergents and they can be difficult to find at times. We set up a switch so we can have the water sent to the sewer when we run bleach loads or when we use different soaps.

  • Reply Beks |

    Mrs. Modertightwad – Good Point. I should have mentioned to check with your local building codes. No, this isn’t illegal where I live as long as you have no run-off. My husband is a professional plumber, the city actually encourages these types of switch systems to reduce water usage. Many of our neighbors have this set up.

  • Reply Beks |

    SaveBuyLive – My husband is a plumber. All leaks are stopped before the first drop hits the sink/toilet/shower/washer. We have below average water use but even then, our bills are around $60 a month.

  • Reply emmi |

    We live in a place with a long-time shrinking population and plenty of water so I take advantage of the cheap animal pleasure/luxury of long showers. Makes me feel pampered. I sometimes stand there until the water heater starts running out of the hot stuff. I think our largest water bill of the year is $15/month. But rarely does anything outside need water.

    Mock our snow and cold if you like, but water is not something we ever think about.

  • Reply Shana |

    A couple other tricks: re-route your bathwater and/or dishwater and use that for your lawn and garden.

    When my landlord is getting ready to take a shower, he puts a bucket under the tap until it gets to the temp he wants it. Then, he uses that water to flush the toilet. Note: if you do this, really, really make sure there’s enough water to flush properly, otherwise it can get gross.

  • Reply Matt |

    At least you live in a part of the country where water conservation is something that you’re aware of. A lot of people simply assume that having as much water as they want all the time is normal. We need to be conscious of our natural resources and water is one of them.

    Good idea diverting your gray water to the landscaping.

  • Reply Jen |

    $60/month for water? OUCH! My water bill is around $70-90/half year. But, I live in the Northeast, and the water is supplied by a huge reservoir.

    All the same, I try to conserve water, but I am not perfect. I have an HE washer and low-flow toilets.

    Where I fail at saving water is long showers (I’m just slow in the morning) and I rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. If my dishwasher would actually clean everything I wouldn’t rinse… But I am trying to see how much non-rinsing I can get away with but playing around with the amount of detergent I use (I switched to Seventh Generation).

    And, on my to-do list, is to the see if my showerheads are low-flow or not, and replace them if they aren’t.

    On the plus side for you, since you’re in San Diego, I suspect your heating bills are better than mine 😉

  • Reply Beks |

    I’m so jealous of all my readers water!! Could you sent some this way?!?! ; )

    Jen – You are very right. I think I use my heater 20 days or less the whole year. It’s pretty mild.

  • Reply BeWaterWise Rep |

    Water conservation in today’s world is very important as many regions are facing fresh water shortages. Water levels have dropped significantly in places like Southern California, over the past few years. Hence, we need to conserve water – one of the most precious resources on the Earth. Here are some tips to save water in and around the house: http://www.bewaterwise.com/tips01.html This will not only protect the environment but also save you some precious dollars by reducing your water bills.

  • Reply Beks |

    BeWaterWiseRep – I have used this site many times and I love it. I especially use it often to find garden suppliers who provide water saving plants.

So, what do you think ?