Gray Water

I have to say that I’m a big fan of using Gray water. I know just in our household of five that an incredible amount of water goes down the drain which quite frankly could be used to nurture the garden and lawn if only we had the systems in place. I also know that as a family we do everything we can to save what water we can. Both showers have a bucket in them to catch as much water as possible. I use the laundry rinse water on the garden (no I don’t use the wash water because I’m a little dicey as to how good my washing powder is regarding the chemicals etc in it). I have a bucket sitting in the kitchen sink which any rinse water, left over water from a drink which the kids didn’t finish or water bottles are emptied into along with the tea pot.  It is surprising just how much water you can collect to use on the garden just using a bucket this way.  While we don’t have any rain water tanks I do have a very large dam which has an extremely good pump on it and is a true blessing when it comes to preserving my plants.  We have also received just one quarter of our water right (we have irrigation water) which is used for just two hours a week to keep what we can alive in the garden, remember we have two acres so that water really doesn’t go very far at all, and part of that irrigation water is pumped into the dam so I can use it when needed.

As a community we are now on Stage 4 restrictions which mean……

A garden/lawn area must not be watered at any time. (There are now exemptions in force which allow us to hold a hand held hose and water for just one hour on certain days.)

A fountain or water feature of any volume must not be operated.

A fountain or water feature of any volume must not be filled or topped up.

A new pool or spa with a capacity of less than 500 litres must not be filled.

A new residential or commercial pool or spa with a capacity of between 500 and 2,000 litres must not be filled.

A new residential or commercial pool or spa with a capacity of 2,000 litres or more must not be filled.

An existing pool must not be topped up except by means of a watering can or bucket, filled from a tap. Water must not be used to clean a hard surface unless cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard, safety hazard or other emergency, and a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle is used. Water must not be used to clean any part of a vehicle other than its windows, mirrors and lights, and for spot-removing corrosive substances, and then only with a bucket filled directly from a tap (and not by means of a hose).

Water must not be used in construction except:
a) by means of a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, or by a bucket, filled either by a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, or directly from a tap; or
b) by construction equipment which requires a water supply for its safe and efficient operation.

Lets face it we are in a drought – a bad drought.  You only have to look at the farms in the areas surrounding the town to see just how bad it is – crops are dying or not even planted, fruit trees not bearing fruit, dust and dirt where once there was lush grass. The town itself is incredibly quiet as people are saving their money and not spending it on anything but essentials even with Christmas looming.

It is incredibly pleasing to hear and see just how people are coping with this drought and the very essential water restrictions.  Many are becoming very inventive, and there are now lots of options on the market, for reusing water in an efficient way.  It is also a sign of the times that many, many houses now have signs on their front gates and in their front yards stating that they are using Gray Water or Tank Water.

Now maybe I’m a bit naive, but I tend to just assume if someone has a lovely garden which looks reasonably lush, even with the weather conditions we are having, that they are doing their utmost to save what gray water they can in order to preserve their garden. However there have been rumors around town of some silly viligante groups who have taken it upon themselves to dole out “justice” if they think a person is using town water when they shouldn’t be, hence the new rash of signs springing up.

Now I’m not trying to make a political statement and I know rumors are just hot wind spread by bored people in many instances but I think that it is incredibly sad that there is no longer basic trust in a community and that it has come to the stage where you need to publically broadcast what water you are using.  Even among the water syndicate we are part of for the irrigation water – some members have been questioned as to why they are watering with sprinklers or using water at all.  Some questioned to the point that they too have had to resort to signs stating what water they are using.

Now I know that it is just a “sign” and really what does it matter, but you have to wonder what is next?  Do we need to take out advertisements in the paper stating what water we are using?  Do we resort to watering at odd times in the wee small hours of the morning (not very practical when you are in a syndicate with 12 other people) so no one sees you?

I might add there is no sign on our front gate stating what water we are using and  I very much doubt there will be.  I trust my neighbors and those in the community that they are doing the right thing maybe it’s time that others started doing the same thing.

On a slightly brighter note there is a very strong wind blowing and some lovely dark looking clouds brewing on the horizon.  My fingers and toes are crossed that there might be some rain in them and it will be allowed to fall.


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