A drop in the ocean

22 May 2007

Everyday we try to cut back on our use of electricity and water. I used to read our meters every day to help us understand what areas we could cut back in. I stopped doing that for a while but I've started again so I can log our meter readings here. One of the things I’ve changed in recent weeks is my washing up routine. I used to only use the dishwasher, then I went to hand washing, but I found washing up three times a day used the same amount of water as one load in the dishwasher. Now I’m changing again. As of last week, I’m using the dishwasher again, but only once every two days. When this dishwasher dies, I won’t replace it.

I pack all the plates, cutlery, cups etc. in the dishwasher after each meal. If there are any pots, pans or large serving dishes, I wash them by hand straight away. I do this by running a small amount of hot water in the sink, I wash the pots, then rinse them with a small amount of water. Doing this allows me to run the dishwasher every two days. I have my meter readings for the daily dishwasher, as well as hand washing, so it will be interesting to see how those meter readings compare when using the dishwasher every two days - both in electricity and water usage. I think it's working very well, but I’ll check the meters for a week before I declare success.

We are also having two minute showers, and I’m pleased to say that we are clean and comfortable doing it. I remember back to days when we would spend five minutes or more in the shower. Or worst still, when I used to luxuriate in a huge spa bath we have in our bathroom. It’s still there but is never used. I think I might be the only woman who dusts her bath instead of cleaning it.

We have a large organic vegetable garden but we installed rainwater tanks so we only use water we harvest from the roof in our garden. It's the most sustainable way to go with water. Our storage capacity at the moment is 15,000 litres, in two tanks.

You might have noticed my post on aquaponics - which is sustainable backyard fish and vegetable production. We use rainwater entirely for that. I'll write more about it tomorrow.

This link has some good hints: http://www.savewater.com.au/index.php?sectionid=12

The following table is very interesting, but also a bit depressing. It shows the amount of water - in thousands of litres - that one person uses per year in various countries. How does your country stack up? I can't get the figures to line up well for easy reading but I hope you can decipher it. Australia's consumption is shocking for a country that's got a long history of droughts.
Thousands of litres per person per year
Country * Domestic * Agriculture * Industry * Total

Australia * 341 * 777 * 275 * 1393
Bangladesh * 16 * 875 * 6 * 896
Canada * 279 * 1238 * 532 * 2049
China * 26 * 605 * 71 * 702
Britain * 38 * 810 * 398 * 1245
US * 217 * 1459 * 806 * 2483
Global average * 57 * 1067 * 119 * 1243

1 comment

  1. All my water comes from a WellSpring further up the mountain from me. When my holding tank is full, the water comes over the top & muddies the field. I don't take all the water from the Spring ~ most of it flows down the mountain. I would like to have rainwater tanks for those occasions when tapdancing cows break the feeder pipes or there's a blockage as that way I can still water the animals. I'd love the Spring on my land to flow permanently instead of only when it's rained heavily & it would be lovely to have a stream for the ducks, but that's just a dream. How do you collect the rainwater?



Thank you for your comment. They are an important part of my blog because they help build the community here. Please don't add links or email addresses to your comment. This is a family-friendly blog and I don't have the time to check all the links before I publish them.

These comments are moderated so yours won't appear until after I've read it.