Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
I sure wish I could read the water meter but those are kept cleverly hidden underground and not visible to the homeowner. I wouldn’t know how to read it anyway. I’ll just have to be patient and wait for the good news with the next bill. Yes, I’m sure its good news because I’ve really been frugal with the water.
I had no idea what a water saving monster I was about to create when I first decided to rescue good clean water so it wasn’t going straight from tap to sewer drain. It only took a few days to completely change my water habits. I’ve gone from a mindless faucet turning habit to one of “grab the water rescue bucket first” and feeling a little smug about how much money I’m NOT giving the water/sewer company anymore.
I no longer automatically turn on the tap for water. I go to the rescued water bucket instead. It feels great! Morning coffee water comes from the water bucket. Water to boil potatoes comes from the water bucket. Water to wash dishes comes from the water bucket. I heat it in a stock pot then transfer to the dish sink. That’s saving electricity too. Water for the pressure canner comes from the water bucket. Water to make stew comes from the water bucket. Water to fill ice trays comes from the bucket. Well heck, all the ways I use clean water now comes from the bucket of rescued water. I’m surprised at just how little water I need for normal activities. I want to do more!
Last winter, whenever I took a shower, I plugged the bathtub to capture the hot shower water as a way to gain some heat for the house before the water went down the drain. I’ve started capturing the shower water again but now I’m doing this for a different reason. That captured grey shower water cannot escape before it does double duty. Some is used for mopping floors and some is used for washing rugs in the washer. I’m looking at other possibilities.
I was on a roll thinking of newer ways to rescue clean water or to reuse grey water. Then I had some very crazy insane thoughts. I’ll tell you about them but don’t be judgmental. K?
I thought how crazy is it for a person to set on a big porcelain bowl to make about a cup of pee then use 3 or 4 gallons of good clean water to get rid of it? Even the “let it mellow” suddenly seemed wasteful. Maybe I should just pee outside? Not gonna happen! Although I do think its pretty stupid to go though the processes to create that good drinkable tap water so people can sit down to soil it and flush it away.
Well ok what about the “if its brown” part of flushing? I could eliminate flushing poo at all if I wrapped it in junk mail then put it into the trash can to be hauled away to a landfill. What? Eww! Well, didn’t you know all human waste eventually ends up in a landfill anyway? Water companies only treat the water part of sewage. The solids are renamed sludge, cleaned out of the tanks, and sent to be buried in a landfill just like any other garbage. It had to be renamed cause who would want to think about the poop landfills all around us?
By now you’re probably thinking Anita has really lost her mind aren’t you? Who would do such a thing as wrapping poo in paper and trashing it instead of flushing? So ok let me ask you a question. What about all the soiled diapers being put into trash cans every day? Aren’t those just poo wrapped in paper? :-0 Would it change the way it sounded if I say I bought a bag of cheap-o diapers to wrap the poo instead of using junk mail? Alright, enough of the crazy thoughts. I’m just having a bit of fun.
A very dear long time friend, Kathi, lives in Flint, Michigan. She has complained about the water company there for years and years. I came across an article about the future of water written by a couple of professors at the University of Michigan. Seeing the words water and Michigan together is what made me keep reading. These professors say that within the next three to five years 1/3 of all Americans will no longer be able to afford clean water. That’s not very long at all. The days of affordable water are rapidly coming to an end and that’s kinda scary to think about.
Actually there are many families in the poorest neighborhoods already living without running water. Water is frequently turned off for lack of adequate money to pay the bill or any payment options. What happens when too many low incomed families can’t pay the water/sewer bills? The city raises the rate even more to cover the losses. The higher rate then puts the middle class families at risk of no longer affordable clean water.
Rescuing my first bucket of water was only a feeble attempt to save a little money but has resulted in a much greater appreciation for the clean flowing water. I waste much less water because I’ve changed my habits. I’m amazed at just how little water I actually need each day.
Let me leave you with one more piece of advice to file away for the possibility you may someday be without running water. Sponge baths are an alternative. Sponge baths do get the job done with very little water. But; if you are a senior like me, be sure to cover all the mirrors in the bathroom. You want to know why? Well its like this. If you should catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror you might just realize the lack of running water is the least of your problems.