Californians, let's do this for the drought

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      There are so many things in the modern life we think are essential to our well beings. If one day the world would changes so much that we have to simplify our lives, then you'll find that we are able to live without most of them, such as electricity, internet, phones and cell phones, cars...etc. What the essential necessity list for human life ultimately comes down to will be just three critical elements: air, water and sun light, the same things our most primitive ancestors survived on. Water, is that important. It's because normally there is abundance of it that we overlook the crucial role it plays in our life. The Californians probably can appreciate water more than people living in the places where there is a surplus of it. A Recent Stanford University research showed that the human induced global warming is going to make the California drought more a norm for the future climate.  Well, unless you want to move away from California, let's face our fate and do something to deal with it.

     So, conserve water, is what we need to do. Plenty of advice from the environmental groups or government hosted websites will tell you all kinds of tips to conserve water. Follow them by all means. Here I want to share a couple of things we do at home to conserve water.

     The number one thing I want to recommend is collecting the cold water before your shower. Unless you have only one bathroom that is located right next to your furnace, it usually takes a minute or two for the hot water to come to your shower head before you start your shower, especially for the bathrooms on the 2nd floor. If your shower head flow rate is 2.5 gallon/minute, then you can save up to 5 gallons every time you take a shower. What we do is using a 5-gallon bucket to collect this cold water and use it for your toilet flushing. 5 gallon is a good size. Bigger than that, you will have a hard time carrying it to flush your toilet. If you have many people sharing the same bathroom, you might want to consider getting additional buckets to collect water, as sometimes, you won't be able to use up the water before the next person takes a shower. Other than flushing the toilet, you can use it to do general washing or use it for your garden. I know it's a lot of work to have to carry the water to your garden if your bathroom is on the 2nd floor. Well, it's good exercise and effective strength training for your arm muscle. Be thankful that we only need to carry a little water to our garden. Our ancestors had to get their water from outside of the house or even a mile away everyday. After collecting the water, make sure you don't take a half an hour shower.

      The next thing we do is collecting the kitchen waste water, especially from food washing. We don't collect waste water that contains soap, because we use the collected water for our garden and we believe that the soap is not good for the plants. But if you don't care about the soap, then you can collect much more. The water I collected is mainly water used to wash vegetables and rice, water in your kids' water bottles brought to school that your kids did not finish but don't wan to drink any more, water that you washed your hands (without soap). People who cook would know that it takes a lot of water to thoroughly clean your leafy vegetables. Our multi-grain rice also takes quite a few rounds to get rid of the bits of hulls mixed in the grains. I have a 2 -gallon bowl next to the sink that I use to collect the random water.  I put a 5-gallon bucket and a couple of big bowl containers right next to the sliding door outside our kitchen for me to easily pour the waste water through the process. It does post a little extra work for the cooking task, but then we get the nutrition-loaded water for our garden, even during the driest summer. During a heavy washing cooking, I can collect 10 gallons of water.

    Once the above tasks become a daily routine, it's no big deal. Our kids are very used to collecting the cold water before shower and try to use the water for toilet flushing (if they remember). That's it. Consider how critical water is for us, this is really just a small gesture to show how much we appreciate the privilege of having water coming out of our facets everyday.

Shower room bucket used to collect cold water
Shower room bucket used to collect cold water
Bucket and big bowls for collecting kichen washing waste water
Bucket and big bowls for collecting kichen washing waste water
Place the kitchen water collecting buckets next to sliding door outside the kitchen
Place the kitchen water collecting buckets next to sliding door outside the kitchen
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