Droughts are plaguing the United States. Water is becoming scarce, and is poised to get more expensive as well. One way to handle present or future water shortages is to reuse gray water from your household plumbing, which reduces your overall consumption. This technique is useful even for people outside of drought-stricken areas who just want to conserve and reduce their water bills.
Raising the Stakes
According to the United States Drought Monitor, most of California is still mired in an exceptional drought, and much of the rest of the West joins it with extreme or severe drought levels. Other parts of the country are also experiencing abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions. And conditions aren't getting better anytime soon – scientists report that it will take years of above-average rainfall to pull California back from the brink.
It's not just Westerners paying the price. Persistent droughts will affect people in all areas of the country, via price hikes for agricultural products and even the possibility of a drought-related economic downturn. Clearly, it's in everyone’s interest to cut back. Fortunately, you have the power to help with some simple changes to how you use your household plumbing.
Reuse From the Shower and Washing Machine
The average American family uses a whopping 400 gallons of water each day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The simplest way to capture some of that and reuse it is to just stick a bucket in the shower with you. You don't want to use the dirty water for cooking, cleaning or drinking, but it's fine to use for irrigation or to flush the toilet.
Another place to easily capture used water is from your washing machine. All you need to do is reroute the discharge line to a large tub, or to an outdoor area that you want to irrigate directly. If you try this method, make sure the water is dispersed under a few inches of mulch or other material so it's not coming into direct contact with you or your pets.
An Upgrade to Your Household Plumbing
If you really want to take the plunge into hard-core water conservation, consider installing a home water recycling system into your household plumbing. These systems automatically collect water from the shower, washer and bathroom sink, filter it and send it to be reused in the toilet or for irrigation. Excess water from the dishwasher and kitchen sink still goes straight to the sewer, because the food particles pose too much of a health risk. Toilet water isn't collected either, for obvious reasons.
There are plenty of other water conservation strategies you can try – for more ideas, or help modifying your household plumbing to improve your recycling capabilities, call up a local plumber today.