Are your water bills on the rise? Many cities are seeing higher water prices than ever as governments deal with repairing water systems and with water shortages. Check out these ways to recycle water around your house to save money and conserve this precious, non-renewable resource.
Here in Atlanta we have some of the highest water rates in the country. Thanks to some past government corruption, our water and sewage lines are a mess, and now that the city is finally getting around to repairing them, they’ve had to hike our water prices yet again. Since 2006, I’ve seen our water bills more than double, and we are not using twice as much water at home.
Atlanta has also had a drought on and off (mostly on) for years, so conserving water at home is extremely important to me.
Related Reading: 20 Ways to Conserve Water at Home
Cutting back water use is critical to conserving water, but on top of things like turning off the tap when you brush your teeth, you can collect and recycle water to save even more. Water recycling can range from very simple methods that don’t require anything but a little forethought to complicated systems. Some of the conservation tips here are ones that I’ve been using for a long time and some are things I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had the time or cash to implement.
1. Use a Shower Bucket
The shower bucket is probably the simplest way to recycle water at home. When you turn on the tap for your shower, the water that comes out takes some time to heat up to a comfortable temperature. Next time you’re warming up the shower, stick a bucket under the running tap until you’re ready to get in. You’ll be surprised at how much water you collect!
2. Install a Rain Barrel
Skip that whole municipal water system for watering your garden and collect rainwater instead. Rain barrel setups can be super simple or more complicated, depending on how much time you can invest and how handy you are. The best collection method that I’ve found is setting up the barrel underneath your gutter’s downspout, so it collects the most water when it rains. Click here to see how my husband installed our rain barrels!
3. Create a Rain Garden
Rain gardens take advantage of land’s natural water runoff to nourish the plants that live there. Unlike a regular garden that needs watering, a rain garden is constructed so that it reuses water that would otherwise run off into the sewage systems. The bonus is that by diverting that water from the storm drain, you’re giving your city’s overtaxes sewage system a break. Learn more about rain gardens here!
4. Save that Pasta Water
Next time you’re making a pot of pasta, don’t dump all of that precious water down the drain! Instead, set your colander over another large pot to collect all of that precious H2O. Once the water has cooled, you can use it on your garden or to water your house plants.
5. Save Water from Washing Veggies
Just like when you’re boiling pasta, washing veggies uses water that’s totally re-usable. Place your colander over a large pot to collect the water while you’re washing. You can use your collected water on the garden or for flushing the toilet.
6. Install a Gray Water System
Gray water is waste water that doesn’t contain sewage. Think the water that goes down the drain when you wash your hands or do laundry. A gray water system diverts that water, so it doesn’t go to waste. A good example might be diverting water from your shower drain for flushing the toilet. Grey water systems can get pretty complicated, and just like any plumbing setup, they do require maintenance. Get some more deets on recycling gray water here.
7. Collect the Overflow from Watering Plants
When you water your potted plants, have you noticed that extra water usually runs out of those drainage holes at the bottom of the pot? Don’t let that water go to waste! Place your plants in deep trays to collect that water. You can use the runoff from your larger plants to water the smaller ones.
8. Reuse Excess Drinking Water
Got an almost-empty water glass that’s been sitting out too long to drink? Feed it to a thirsty house plant instead! You can also use unsweet tea on your plants. If the drink that’s been sitting is sweetened, you can pour it on plants in the garden, but don’t use it on house plants unless you like ants!
Do you recycle water around your house? Share your favorite water reuse tips in the comments!