Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reducing My Water Use: An Update

This month, for my year long adventure, I have been focused on reducing the amount of water that my family uses. Honestly, I haven't done as well as I had hoped with my reductions... we had a really busy month and I felt like I was rushing around constantly, and didn't have as much time to contemplate water use as I had imagined....Also, it rained here almost every day this month, and so conserving water was also not top on my list. At least I only have had to water my garden 5 times this summer. Seriously.
Anyways, here were my original goals:
  1. Put a plastic bottle in the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used for each flush.
  2. Put a bucket in the shower to collect water.
  3. Put a bucket in the sink to capture water while doing dishes.
  4. Convince Finn to take a shower instead of a bath.
  5. Disconnect our backyard downspout and turn it into a water holding tank for duck water. 
And here is what I managed to do:
  1. I did put a plastic bottle (full of gravel) in the back of the tank to reduce the water per flush. Super easy. Should have done that years ago.
  2. I did put a bucket in the shower to collect water. I have been using the water and dumping it outside (even though my garden hasn't really needed water) or have used it to flush the toilet throughout the day (which has been easier than hauling it outside). However, Todd has not been too keen with showering with a bucket, so this has been pretty much a solo mission for me.
  3. I did put a tub in the sink to collect dishwater. And I dutifully emptied it for about a week. However, our kitchen is tiny, with very little counter space, and our sink is just one side. We would end up piling dished in the tub, and then it got full of food scraps, and became a huge pain. Plus, emptying it consisted of making it through a door, a screen door, and a gate, all without spilling... My husband complained that it was taking up way too much room, and I agreed that it was more of a pain than I could deal with. So, as an alternative, I have been getting the sponge wet, cleaning all of the dishes with the faucet off and stacking them next to the sink, and then rinsing after they have all been cleaned. So, I am not reusing my water, but I am now using much less than I was.
  4. Finn has been taking showers! He hasn't been too happy about it, as he loves baths, but the fact that he doesn't like to shower has made them super quick. So, I think we have definitely reduced our water use in this department. Thanks Finn!
  5. I have not managed to disconnect our backyard downspout yet. It entails a trip to the hardware store, which I just have not had the time (or the motivation to do). I do still plan on completing this, just not by the end of July!!
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  1. you inspire me- and I like your honesty.

  2. Great steps in the right direction! I made my parents put a bottle of gravel in the back of their toilets years ago, and until I saw this, I totally forgot about that easy way to save water. Guess what I'm doing tonight after I find a bottle!

    Good for Finn for taking showers! That's not an easy transition. I've tried showering with Trinity, and the only way it's not a huge freak-out is if she wears a bathing suit and goggles. The goggle thing kind of makes sense, but I don't get the bathing suit. Still, it's a great way to save water!

    I'm impressed with all you've done this month! Keep up the great work!

  3. I'll have to try the bottle with in the water tank and see if that works here!! :) Thanks :)
    And I do the same with dishes as you do, it really works better than food scrap bucket ;)