Because of an ever-growing population, the world has seen an increase in droughts everywhere, and this has lead to what is being called a “water crisis.” While it can be doable to get by with a mere few gallons of water each day, on average, a typical household uses 400 gallons of water on a daily basis. However, there are a number of people that are looking for ways to reduce their water usage, whether to cut back on water bills or simply to conserve resources. Additionally, there are a number of states that are already placing water usage laws in effect, which leaves many households without a choice.
Beginning With Water Conservation
You can begin by only running your dishwasher or washer with full loads rather than running it for smaller loads. This helps decrease the amount of water used in the home by as much as 1,000 gallons each month. There are some homes where this just doesn’t seem to do the job, and that is where recycling gray water can come into play.
Many people often wonder what gray water is exactly, and simply put, it’s all that water that drains out from your washing machine, showers, bathtubs, and more. It’s easy to treat it and made to be reusable in your home for a few different things. There are a number of countries that are already using this method, but for a majority of the U.S., this process isn’t heard of. Water is used and then simply discarded. However, one of the best places to start to help the drought in your area is to consider using gray water, and luckily, it is becoming a more and more common thing.
How to Use Gray Water
Gray water usage can be a great idea, and once you get past the fact that you are recycling your washer water, it can help cut back on the amount of water a home uses. There are a few drawbacks, however. While this water might be better for you than the water that comes from your toilets, gray water still is technically sewage. Water that comes from your washer might contain detergent or bleach in some cases, and any bath water might contain urine or fecal matter if you have little ones in the home.
Gray water usage can be used for watering and irrigation. Plants are going to love this gray water. Plants don’t always need fresh water, and, in fact, there are some particles and things in gray water that can have a positive effect on your plants.
Collecting Gray Water
Now that you know about gray water, you might be wondering how you can get started using it around the home. To start with, you can begin using gray water right away. For example, the water that you give your pets can be used to water your plants before giving them a fresh bowl of water.
Also, the water that comes from your AC unit outside can be collected and reused. This water isn’t necessarily good to drink, but it can be used for irrigation purposes. You can buy a kit from the store or you can take a bucket from home and place it under the end of the drain pipe, where the water is coming out. This water can be used to water your plants, and because the most water is produced in the summer, it’s beneficial to use this water in the summer months when dry conditions are more prevalent.
You can catch the water as it drains from your washer as well. You’re going to need to have a few buckets and quick reflexes though to catch the water once it starts coming out.
You’ll also find that there are a number of gray water collection kits that can help separate the gray water from the black water that would come from your toilets. You should look for a kit that has an emergency shut off valve in case something starts going wrong as well as a way to route your water to the sewer in case you don’t need the gray water at the moment.
Using gray water to water your trees and shrubs can prove to be beneficial in a number of ways. A few things to keep in mind include:
- Avoid using gray water on newly planted plants
- Avoid using gray water on indoor plants
- Apply the gray water directly to the plant’s soil
- Avoid applying gray water to leaves or stems
- Avoid using gray water on edible plants
Can You Use Gray Water in Your Garden?
You can use gray water in your garden as long as you follow a few steps to ensure the water is safe from harsh chemicals or things that would harm your plants. You should only gather as much water as your plants and flowers are going to need. You don’t want to overwater them with gray water, and anything excess should go into your sewer.
One thing to help you determine how much you need is that a square foot of garden can handle about a half gallon of gray water a week. So for example, a garden that measures 500 square feet can handle about 250 gallons a week of gray water.
If you have the ability to choose the gray water used, consider gray water from your shower or bathtub. Using water from your kitchen sink or dishwasher should be the last place you get water from since food is cleaned and there might be grease or food debris in the water.
Gray water serves a number of uses around the home, and while you can’t drink it, it can serve other purposes to help cut back on the amount of water you use.
©2012 Off the Grid News