Five gallons of water

That’s what I’m using a day. Actually, most days I’m using between 3-4 gallons. If I wash a bit of laundry it bumps up to 6 to 7 gallons. I’m talking about personal use here not water used for growing food. For growing food I’m using a combination of hauled lake water, well water and collected rain water. Right now I’ve got 55 gallons of rain water collection but before too long that should be 440 gallons and within a year I hope to have 1100 gallons of rain water collection dedicated to food production.

In terms of personal use, while we do have the well hooked up and running I’m not using it yet because after 3 years of not being used it does not seem to be clearing up. I’ll continue using it for the next week for gardening and see if it clears up. If not I’ll have the well guy come out and have a look at the pressure tank which may have gone bad. Until then I’ll continue to haul water from a relative’s house for drinking, cooking and cleaning.

IMG_1701I’ve got several 5 gallon containers and 2 solar showers, 4 gallons each. For the moment I’ve got an improvised outside sink set-up for washing dishes, brushing teeth, etc. and I’ve gotten to be VERY frugal with each drop. As an example, when I do dishes I start with my cup and bowl and after it is washed the water is poured into the next water holding item such as a pot or another cup or bowl thus the soap water is used again. Last it is poured onto any plate and re-used. Rinse water is also reused as I go along.

Hand-washed laundry is also carefully orchestrated between one or two small 3 gallon wash tubs. I start with a half gallon and very small amount of soap and will wash 4-8 items starting with the least dirty items first. Rinsing is also done is this order and in increments of 1/2 gallons until the rinse water is fairly clear.

I’ve set-up a small under-sink gray water filter which consists of a clay pot filled with approximately 50% sand, 30% gravel, and 20% small rock in that order starting from the bottom of the pot and going up. I used an old and worn sock at the very bottom between the sand and the hole in the pot. This drains into a 5 gallon bucket which fills to 3 gallons every 3-4 days. This is a temporary set-up. The next version will likely consist of a 5 gallon bucket filter with an attached faucet for easy access to water. When I get a sink put into the cabin I’ll likely have it drain to a similar bucket filter just outside the cabin and the water will be used in the wild garden of native habitat plants in the partial shade area around the cabin. All soap on site is bio-degradable and phosphate free. In the very near future I’ll only be using Dr. Bronners bar or liquid soap on site.

The last bit of water usage is for showering. I’m able to get 2-3 showers out of each 4 gallon solar shower which works out to 1.5 gallons or less for each shower.

Of course I use far, far more than five gallons a day. My breakfast consisted of peanut butter, strawberry preserves, and bread. All the ingredients were grown with water, processed with water and packaged in glass or plastic that required water to manufacture. Those goods were transported to a store via trucks made of materials that required water in their manufacture on roads that required water in construction via gasoline or diesel fuel. I’m living in a cabin that is made of lumber and siding and roofing all of which required water for processing. The list goes on. The point is that the things we eat, live in and use on a daily basis have resource costs that we often don’t think about. Water is just one of them and one of the most important to consider right along side of oil.

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2 Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you do not have a refrigerator or a air conditioner, then you certainly do not need a computer. I think you are a hipocrite doing this “experiment” solely for the purpose of the ooohhs and ahhs you will get from your hippie friends. It has no practical or scholaral merit. Learn how to garden from a real farmer, learn how to self-sustain properly (please for the love of god read the Foxfire seris of books…assuming you can read…the internet has made so many people think they are smart.) I hope the deer [{not the rabbits}…which I might add are a good source of food for people that want to self-sustain] eat all of your peas because you are a pansy.

  2. denny says:

    Hey anonymous, you’re an ass. Unless you are someone who knows me and are unwilling to leave your name then you know very little about me and yet you jump straight to a smart ass attitude. You try to belittle me and assume you know my friends, my intelligence and whether I am a pansy whatever that is. Perhaps if YOU had bothered to read and attempt an understanding of my posts you’d have UNDERSTOOD that my point is to minimize my energy usage. My laptop computer uses 15-30 watts of energy which is FAR less than a refrigerator or an air conditioner. FAR LESS. I use a computer for a bit of freelance income, research, communications, music, photography. In other words it serves many purposes and does so with very little energy requirements.

    By the way, scholoral is not a word, maybe just a typo?

    Regarding gardening and learning from a “real farmer”, I don’t even know where to begin there. What is a “real farmer”? Please oh great knowledgeable one, do enlighten me. I have plenty of books and have read parts of the Foxfire series at various times, thanks for the advice.

    In any case, good luck crawling back into the hole you crawled out of.

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