Spring has started, hurray! While I am sitting on the couch writing in my nice sitting corner, I see the sun shining happily outside, and little birds fluttering back and forth in my garden. The bulbs from the Bee Foundation that I planted in October are in bloom and the first batch of spinach, radishes and lettuce is already growing nicely in my greenhouse. All that greenery benefits from the sun but also needs water. And after almost five years of experience with off-grid living and therefore working closely with nature, I know that spring is also the driest period of the year. I have already taken that into account.
Last year I was not able to shower at home for two months in the spring, because there was too little rain. You may hardly be able to imagine that if you have a plumbed-in water supply. Then you notice much less how little rain falls. And although quite a lot has fallen in recent months and my tank is far from empty, I can already see that it is raining too little. So I have to be economical with water. If you are aware of your water use, you will come up with smart ways to save water. Shall I share some tips with you?
A jug on the counter
I have a large measuring cup with a lid on my kitchen countertop. I top it up when I go to do the dishes, for example. It always takes a while for the water to warm up and you can run that water down the sink, but you can also collect it for later use. So I do that in that measuring cup. For example, when I want to wash my hands briefly, I can grab the measuring cup instead of opening the tap. This also saves electricity for the pump.
Close the tap in the meantime
If I want to wash my hands with soap, I first wet my hands, turn off the tap and take my soap. I lather my hands and only then open the tap to rinse them off. That makes a big difference! And I don’t have to tell you not to run the tap while brushing your teeth, right? Rinsing with a glass of water is also more economical than when you put your mouth on the tap.
A water bottle next to the toilet
I have a dry toilet as you may know – you don’t flush it. That saves about 36 liters of water per day. Still, I like to flush a little bit of water down the toilet after every turn, and for that I have a bottle of water next to the toilet. When I take a shower or do the dishes, I fill it with the water that comes out of the tap before it is warm.
Rainwater for the garden
I currently live next door to a canal so I always have water for the garden. I can just walk to the water’s edge with my watering can and submerge it. But I no longer have that luxury at my new place of residence where I will be moving to this year. I will collect the water that falls on the roof of my house in a large underground water tank; more about that later.
But soon I will also have a shed with a roof! Of course, I will make use of this by placing a rain barrel under the gutter. Even though I will soon have a regular connection to water, it is a shame to use drinking water for the garden if you can also collect rainwater. In addition, the plants like rainwater much better than tap water; it is much softer. I am not yet sure which one, but I will definitely buy a rain barrel. Nowadays you have them in all shapes and sizes. Maybe I will choose a nice rain barrel made of recycled plastic where you can put plants on top!
Every little bit helps, even if you have a water connection. You can read in this blog why it is so important to use water consciously. It may seem like drops in the ocean, but when we all do it, it does make a big difference. Enjoy spring everyone!