Friday, February 14, 2014


California bears the dubious distinction of being one of those states where water conservation is not so much an option as a lifestyle, due to the fickle nature of the Mediterranean climate we live in, coupled with the weather pattern shifts Climate Change is bringing to the western states (well, every place, really).  

Yet, with each new drought and subsequent request that people conserve more, the question is inevitably asked:  How much more can we do?

California endured nasty droughts since before there was even a place called California, and most people do the right thing and use water wisely.  They are now being asked to reduce an additional 20 percent of water usage, which can be difficult if you kept up with the conservation measures you started doing in the late 1980's, during the last great drought.

That's the position we are in here at the Hot Flash Homestead.  We don't always flush (TMI?), we rarely wash our cars, and we've taken out almost all of our lawn.  So the 20 percent has to come from somewhere, and we've decided it's going to be here:

Yes, I think there's still room to save water in the bath and shower.  Starting now, we will be recycling the bathtub water, using a siphon and tubing, out to what's left of our lawn.  This way we can drastically cut down on the water we're using to water.  Grey Water is safe to use on lawn, shrubs and trees -- just not on vegetables.  Even more so since I make all our soap from gentle, natural ingredients, easily biodegradable, without any harsh chemicals. 

We are also looking at water collection barrels, which would allow our roof's rain runoff to be stored for drier months.

I'm not sure if it will get us to a 20 percent reduction in use since we already conserve so much, but it will help.

Of course the biggest and best changes would come if everyone in the state removed most of their lawns, if golf courses shut down or changed over to AstroTurf, and if swimming pools, agricultural ponding basins or reservoirs were covered to prevent evaporation.  But at this point, I guess that's asking too much of people.  So for now, we all do a little, and hope it helps a lot.

But, I suppose every drop in the bucket helps. And so we adjust our usage downward ... one more time.


  1. Water conservation is such a tricky thing. Especially for gardeners. I am impressed by your grey water system. It's one of those things that isn't "that" hard yet so few people do. I don't do it because I don't have the siphon that probably cost $3 said and done...if that. It's funny here in Ohio because we can't really plant according to weather. Sure, there are averages to consult. But those averages are seemingly fake numbers derived from seasons of extremes. Two years ago it was so dry lawns and perennials were dormant by July 4. Last year we had so much tropical rain that lawns were lush and green right up to the first killing frost. The increasing volatility of the world's weather is alarming which has plenty of people (like me) talking. I admire you for taking action toward conservation.

  2. Thank you! We do feel it's necessary to do our part. Oh, and I agree with you completely on the "average" temperature thing. It drives me nuts when the weatherpeople complain it's warmer or colder "than average," because you are right, "average" is merely averaging out the extremes, which are getting more crazy as time goes by.