Be Relevant

Relearning everything we've forgotten.

Friday, February 25, 2011

1 Month Water Conservation Experiment

I have convinced Mel to try an experiment with me for the next month.  We are pretty conscientious about saving water.  However, the water bill has gone up over the last 2 months.  Perplexing.  There was a recent hike in fees that doesn't help.  I also think it has something to do with the fact that since we are constantly trying to save water, we become lax on monitoring our own use.  Essentially, our showers have gotten longer and we use the dishwasher more often.  Kind of like owning a Prius and using the gas savings to buy a plane ticket for your vacation.  You haven't really reduced your reliance on fossil fuels you have just optimized your use of them.

But optimization, which isn't working since its risen the past two months, isn't what we are after.  We want reduction.  How do you reduce your water supply?  The major users of water is the bathroom, laundry and kitchen.  Let's just tackle the kitchen for now.

We use the rinse water from vegetables to water our garden.  We have installed a low flow faucet head.  We even fill the dogs big-ass water container as we wait for the water to heat up.  The major problem is the dishwasher.  I have never owned one until I moved out here to California.  Since college, except for a 6 month stay in Rhode Island, I have been hand washing my dishes.  I hand washed in my first house.  I hand washed in Italy.  What a creation of convenience!  And utterly a water waster.

I am sure that there are energy saver, low flow devices out there.  You could even hook it up to a grey water system to water plants outside.  But, its very nature makes you want to fill it up before you run it.  Since dishes apparently only come in sets of 4 or more there are ample amounts of dishes to fill it up with.

The plan is to only have 1 plate, 1 bowl, 1 glass, 1 mug, 1 fork, 1 spoon, 1 knife, and 1 water bottle.  Actually those are really the only things that we stick in the dishwasher.  Pots and pans get hand washed.  So do the kitchen knives and wooden spoons.  Even the our mixer and bread pans get hand washed.

Because we own so many dishes,  do we use them partly because they are there and partly to fill up the dishwasher?  If we only had one set of dishes - 1 for each of us - would we even need the dishwasher?  I have this idea that it will actually save us time by only having the one set each.  But actually trying to figure that out goes down a mathematical rabbit hole. 

It should drive down our water use and therefore the bill.
It should drive down our electric bill as well.
It will save time?

I'm also hoping that it creates reverence for those things we take for granted each day.  The amount of water used, the time it takes to wash dishes, and the dishes themselves.  We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. People can really attain great results with this water conservation experiment. Well, if we think about it, we can come up with our own unique ways to conserve water. Try to observe the things you do every day, and you will notice that there's at least one habit of yours that you can change to save water. ;)

    Lorenza Coon