Thursday, October 25, 2007

When in America, do as Mexicans

No, no sorry, I don't mean ride your extreme alpinist friend Bill Nye around in a front loading cargo bike on the pavers in a little village called Tlachichuca at 8,500ft, I mean think about how we use the water we have. I first noticed the drought that has been affecting the entire southeastern U.S. the week I returned from the Trans Germany in mid June. I have always dreaded mowing the grass and always try to push it out as long as I can to conserve in a small way what I can. This summer was a mowing haters dream, I went 3-4 weeks out through August and have not since then. The down side to the self mowing lawn is an almost unbelievable rain water deficit that has left me trying to figure out how our city utilities can continue supporting a nearly 100 million gallon H2O usage every 24 hours much past I don't know, say, tomorrow. The restrictions started going into affect at the end of August after we were already past ten inches negative. At the height of summer usage the 24hr number was more like 170 million gallons.

Even though we have never watered our lawn which I cannot figure out why I would in the first place, my house is now participating in some extra water conservation. Since July we have been using a gutter style rain barrel for all of our plants and garden needs. We have saved all the plants but the garden was bad and there were no good tomatoes, only peppers and basil. As well I have been dry washing my bikes and for 3 days now have been taking Navy showers just like I did while on these big grey ships which were floating in big water but never had any. The showers on the ships had these spring loaded buttons that you pushed, got 4 seconds of semi cool water and then it cuts off. Lather up, hit the button and rinse, oh the memories of the perks a tour in the military has to offer.

Dicky posed the question last week of the wasted shower water that goes down the drain while you are waiting for it to warm up. He is right, no sense jumping in it, it is cold because the hot water heater was put in place by an American plumber who put it in a closet at the other end of the house by the dining room. So, after a little research and help from the ethnically diverse munie section of the bank I learned what they do in Venezuela with their cool bath water. Apparently this South Amercan nation collectively saves that water in a 20-25 gallon vessel which stays in the corner of their shower and becomes the source for their toilet tank fill water. So smart and simple these Venezuelans, they prolly don't waste water on their lawns very much either. Our house adopted this policy officially Monday after St. Lissa brought home the lidded vessels and I shut off the supply valve to the tank. It is amazing, 2 gallons there about get saved for the toilet tank every time any of us take a shower. We use a pitcher to do the aqua transfer from vessel to tank, which are about 4 feet apart. I put the ceramic tank lid on the floor behind the throne, no need to take it on and off every transfer.

It has been raining steady here in the Catawba river basin since last night. Ten minutes into my commute this morning I felt completely wet but some how warmly clean. I noticed on the Albermarlian traverse an unusual continuous noise to my left ear, it sounded like a shallow river running fast over rocks. I looked over through the falling water while sidewalk surfing along side the autos road surfing and I saw the movement of the water causing this unfamiliar roar. H2O was everywhere, the gutter ran visible into the road and caused these little hydraulics at the drain grates. The downpour was clear and not once did it feel urban dirty or gritty like it usually does when you are so used to having it.


The Big Bad Banker said...

Hey Bill, great blogs. Great idea on using the wasted cold water from your shower to flush your toilet. Also consider watching how frequently you flush. Yeah I know, might sound gross. But given the extreme drought we are having, does one really need to flush the John every time one urinates? Maybe consider doing it only after a couple trips? Please note, I did limit this comment to urination! If you need to take a dump though, please flush!

--Jimmy Humphrey from work.

Billy Fehr said...

Thanks for the witty response. I failed to mention that we have been on the yellow let mellow, brown flush it down Focker philosophy since before the restrictions even went public.