-- — Desperate times call for desperate measures.
With city residents soon to face water restrictions, according to Mayor Rick Fledderman, and some rural families relying on wells, persons who still want to see green outside have to be a little ingenious.
Bev Giesting reports, “We used to live in an old farmhouse outside of Sunman. Every August our well would run dry. I learned quickly how to conserve water from that experience and over the years I have come up with other water-saving ideas.”
Bev and husband Tim, who now live on a rural Batesville farm, are still on a well. “We have to be especially conscious about water we consume. We haven’t run out yet” despite the extremely dry conditions.
The couple also have been inspired by their pro-environment adult daughters.
Giesting has learned how to capture “gray water,” water that typically goes down the drain, for other uses. One example: “It takes a while to get hot water to wash dishes. I keep empty milk cartons by the sink and save the cold water to water houseplants and plants outside.”
When she is done washing dishes, the Hill-Rom employee scoops out the water in the sink with a plastic container and take that outside to water plants. The remaining food particles turn into plant nutrients. After doing research (“I had no idea you could use your dish water to water plants!”), she learned not to use antibacterial or degreasing dish detergents as those are too harsh for vegetation.
She adds, “When I wash vegetables in the kitchen sink, I put a mixing bowl (under them) to capture the runoff and when the bowl is full, I dump it into a bucket to water plants.”
Also in the kitchen, after corn on the cob, pasta, potatoes or other food is boiled in a big pot, that water can be saved and cooled for other purposes.
Even washing hands isn’t taken for granted. A bucket under the faucet in the laundry tub captures H2O while in the bathrooms, stoppers are used, then water is scooped out.
According to the thrifty woman, “when taking showers, until the water is hot, we’ll run water into a bucket.” While showering or bathing, the Giestings use their stoppers and again dip used water out.
Here’s another thought: “Besides using the bath water to water plants, we also use it to flush toilets.” Quickly dump about a fourth of a bucket of water into the toilet, wait until it has disappeared, then use another fourth of a bucket to fill the toilet up.
“We have shortened our showers. We used to let the water run during our entire shower. Now we turn it on long enough to get wet, turn it off, lather up, then turn the water back on to rinse.”
The water from their basement dehumidifier is repurposed as well.
She laughs, “I haven’t figured out” how to divert used washing machine water yet.
“It’s a lot of work,” Giesting admits. The results are worth it to her. “I’ve kept all my landscaping and vegetable gardens pretty well alive.”