January 29, 2017

Water is something that is very misunderstood. Living in the city and turning the tap on is a very different experience to living in the country and turning it on- especially when nothing comes out!

Water is what we are and we all depend on it- humans, animals or trees. Anything we make or produce has an element of water in it, or we used water to make it.

Water does not change or get dirty or contaminated, it can carry those things and  not change state itself. Its like the oil in your car, your oil only holds contaminants from your engine- with a good filtration process you can clean your oil up and use it again. It does not breakdown, it just carries excess stuff with it.

You can reuse water over and over again for multiple purposes, so you want to get as many uses out of it at possible. For example, why do we not have toilets designed with a hand basin in the top of them, when we wash our hands the excess/'waste' water is used in the toilet to flush?

Wouldn’t that save us some water usage? One of the easiest things to do is catch grey water- from your washing machine, or a bucket in the shower with you. Have a bucket in the shower, and when you're done, just go throw it on a fruit tree. With your washing machine, a 60 litre bucket is the best size for a straight through system where you put a tap and hose on it. Leave it open all the time, and just move the hose around. Don't forget to make sure that the top of your container is lower than your washing machine overflow outlet- or your machine might suck the water back in and it won't have done a proper wash. You just move the hose around from fruit tree to fruit tree on every wash so you are using the water twice. Also check that you use an eco friendly washing powder or detergent- very rarely would you get one in Australia that is not.

You can also look into a proper grey water system which will be a great investment.

On top of this, having a rainwater tank installed is a must. You might not be able to install one to completely look after yourself due to size constraints- on average a person will use about 200 litres per day, here is a link if you want the Australian stats . There are some calculations you can do to work out how much water you require to be self sufficient. Normally, you just work out on average how much you use daily, then find out what is the longest time in your area it doesn’t rain for. For example, if there is 2 of you, you may use 400 litres per day. If you live in Sydney the longest time without rain on average is about 33 days. In this example you would want about a 15000L tank- if possible it's one of those things that bigger is always better. If you can, have a few tanks to spread the risk in case something was to happen to one.

Every little bit helps to save of water, so just by thinking about it and being a little smarter you can help save more water. For example, I get over 10 kilos of mandarins each year from my 2 trees, and over 30kgs of Lemons. The only water they get is grey water and water when it rains. It's not a bad byproduct of reusing some grey water! I will put my lemons and mandarins in any taste test challenge you want to throw at them. My biggest problem is when people come over and after tasting one, they want to take them all home.

You could bear more fruits than saving money if you use your water wisely.