Water is one of our most valuable resources in our long term goals at Providence Hill. If we want to start market gardening, continue to grow our animal population and have enough water to drink and bathe and clean, we need to use water sensibly. Little Hartley is renowned as being in a rain shadow, in that often we will miss out when the rain doesn’t quite make it past the Mountains.
Since we moved in, it’s been a priority to keep our tank as full as possible. The tank was installed in August (2015), which is always one of the driest months in Little Hartley, so we initially paid for a 12,000L water delivery. This was essentially a 3 month supply for us, calculated based on our water usage from Katoomba. We managed pretty well with our water-saving strategies, but when December came around and we had experienced below average rainfall, our tank was empty. We paid for another 12,000L delivery to get us through, and thankfully we had a very wet January that filled our tank to a 6 month supply.
Around the house (shed), we do a number of things to save water.
- Catch the cold – we have a jug that we use to catch the cold water at the start of our showers. This is then used to fill our water filter for drinking. Until we put the whole house filter on the house, we use our Southern Cross Pottery filter for drinking water.
- Short showers – we don’t have a timer or anything, but we do try to keep shower times to a minimum.
- Small bath – Master Wolf bathes in a small bucket that’s about 20L. It’s deep enough that he can have a good clean but the diameter is small enough that it doesn’t require much water to fill. As a second child, Miss E gets a bit neglected on the bath front, but when she does need a wash, I just squish her in with Master Wolf for a bit of a rinse.
- If it’s yellow, let it mellow – our toilet uses 3L for a half flush and 4 for a full flush. That’s pretty standard. By choosing not to flush wees, we save at least 24L per day. Over the course of a month we could, by conservative estimate, save over 650L.
- Water at night – we only water the garden in the early morning or the evening when the water has a chance to soak in before it evaporates off. I have also found it better to water more deeply, less regularly. This encourages the roots to grow deeper to search for water and creates more resilient plants. We are currently also setting up an irrigation pipe from the dam so we won’t have to use our precious rainwater for the garden. This will make a big difference. We are really thankful for our dam, because in times of low rain fall, we know we can always keep animals and crops watered.
Do you have any other water saving suggestions?