Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chop Wood, Carry Water...

As the old Buddhist saying goes----"Before Enlightenment: Chop wood; Carry water. After Enlightenment: Chop wood; Carry water".

We are getting the carrying water part down. For the past couple of months (ever since I clumsily broke the water inlet into the house), we have been filling the water at the well house, and then yokenly carrying the agua to the house. One of us usually fills the water buckets first thing in the morning. It takes around twenty minutes or so--since the water only fills the buckets at around 1/2 gallon a minute.

We fill four five gallon buckets. Since we don't fill' em to the top (don't want the water to slosh around) I imagine we put about four gallons into each bucket. Most days, that is all we need for the day.

Cooking and drinking water we fill in a spiffy five gallon thermos. We fill that about every other day.

All told, that makes our household water use at around 18 to 20 gallons a day. That is the water we use to bathe, flush, cook, clean and drink. Laundry we do once a week in town--so I guess that would up our water usage a bit. We are stingy on the clothes thing, since we have to haul the laundry so far to wash the clothes. We have learned that it is quite alright to wear the same pants and shirt for a couple of days.

Call it 25 gallons of water a day for a family of four, an 80 pound dog, a finicky cat and two rabbits.

The US Environmental Protection Agency states that the average family of four uses 400 gallons of water for indoor use a day (on average). That is just indoor use--not including outdoor gardening and lawn purposes.

So, since I busted the water pipe, we have been using around 7 percent of the US average for a family our size. And we aren't suffering any.

Frankly, after looking at these statistics, I'm tempted to never fix the inlet to the house! (But don't tell Joni that--and may she never read this post!) Carrying water to flush is one really good reminder to only flush when it is brown.

Same goes for washing dishes--using a rinse bucket works well. No need to rinse the dishes under a gushing tap.

Bucket baths work just fine in the winter; I love my outdoor shower (hung from a five gallon solar heated bag) during the warmer months!

And what if we extrapolated our water conservation out to every household in California? What if Consumers used 7 percent of their current water use? Hell, we could tear out half of those ugly dams that have decimated our salmon population. We could restore Hetch Hetchy! We could have half our rivers run free to the ocean!

When it comes to our water crises (and for that matter, the energy crises) CONSERVATION is the key. We need to live more like our third world brothers and sisters. It ain't creature comforts which improve life--it is creaturely companionship that does that.

Chop wood; Carry water...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I DID read it, and the previous one as well...and I may not be the only reader to conclude that our minimalist use of water MAY just be in part contributing to our ill health of late...just a thought!
Your incredibly patient and grubby wife