Droughts, pollution, and an increased global population have put a strain on the supply of the world’s most precious resource: clean water. Though homeowners can install water filtration systems to deliver refreshing filtered water to their family, clean water is in short supply.
Luckily there are multiple ways that you and your family can reuse water in your home and make your water go further with creative wastewater management. Using less water will cut down on your monthly bill and help you adapt to drought conditions that are becoming more common in certain regions of the United States. Here are our favorite ways to recycle water around the house.
First, you can install simple systems to collect wastewater, or “greywater,” around the home. Grey water is lightly used water that has not come into contact with feces, or non-toilet water. Grey water comes from sinks, washing machines, and showers. It could contain grease, cleaning products, dirt, or bits of food.
Collect wastewater for reuse with any (or all) of the following:
- Shower bucket — One of the simplest ways to capture water at home: Keep a bucket near your shower drain and let it fill with water as you wait for the water to warm up. You’ll collect a surprising amount of water each shower!
- Rain barrel — A rain barrel can be a one-step process of placing a large rain barrel under your gutter’s downspout or a more involved process of installing a complex water capture system. When it rains you’ll have plenty of water for reuse.
- Sink water — Place a large pot under colanders when you’re straining pasta or cleaning fruits and vegetables in your kitchen sink. Pasta water is rich in nutrients, making it ideal for watering plants.
- Grey water system — Take your water recycling to the next level by installing a gray water plumbing system. These systems divert water from places like your shower drain for reuse, perhaps to fill your toilet tank. Rerouting shower or laundry water for reuse will give you a steady supply of recycled water.
How to Reuse Water
Now you have all of this excess grey water and recycled water — here’s how to put it to good use.
- Water plants — Use your collected water to water potted plants, irrigate your lawn, and give your greenery life.
- Flush your toilet — Gray water can be placed or rerouted into your toilet tank to cut down on water use. Place a brick inside your toilet tank to save more water!
- Create a water garden — Runoff water entering a storm drain typically goes straight to the sewer system. A water garden is an intentional garden that utilizes the natural pathway of rainwater from your gutter’s downspout to water a collection of plants and greenery before the water can reach a storm drain.
- Wash your car and pathways — Reuse water to clean your sidewalk or garden path. You can also wash your car with gray water, significantly reducing your overall water usage.
Start With Clean Water
If the water in your home is treated to remove common contaminants like heavy metals and bacteria you can be even more confident that your recycled water is safe to use for watering plants and other tasks around the house. Reusing water around the house is a great way to promote water conservation and keep our public water as pure as possible.