Think about the water you use.

I’m in the process of buying a house.
It sits on its own land, there is a well, a pond, woods and fields.
We’re just coming out of a very hot summer, and the ground is bone dry.

See the pond above? The water level should be a lot higher than this, and from the water marks on the rocks, it usually is, too.
But it’s been so hot, and so dry, for just two months… the water has all but disappeared. Duckweed has taken over, making it hard on plant and wildlife to get enough water.

A friend of mine lives in Cape Town, who had a severe drought not long ago. Water was extremely scarce and people were working hard to reduce their usage.

The UN estimates that more than 5 billion people could suffer water shortages by 2050, due to climate change.

Let that sink in a moment.
5 BILLION people without sufficient water in just over 30 years.
Water shortages don’t just affect people who live in drought areas today.
Water shortages affect everyone. Everywhere.
Eventually.


Scary, isn’t it?

If it doesn’t scare you already, it should at least prompt you to maybe start doing something about it.
30 years isn’t a long time.
If you have kids, think about how they’ll feel if water is so expensive, they can’t afford to turn a tap on.

Gray Water

I’m notorious for using the washing up water to flush the toilet. I used the bath water to water plants. (I don’t currently have a bath tub, just a shower.) When I mop the floor, I pour the dirty water on the flowers outside.
Now, I don’t use harsh cleaning products. (I use a vinegar cleaner for the floor, for instance.) Or harsh washing powder. Or bleach.
The house I’m in has a septic tank, and the one I’m buying does too.
So I make sure what I use is okay for a septic tank.
But does the water from my washing machine, shower and bathroom sink really have to go into the septic tank?
Not really. It’s gray water, rather than black water. (Toilet etc)

Gray Water Systems

I’m thinking of having extra pipes installed in the house I’m buying. Pipes where I can switch the drainage to a (filtered) gray water tank outside.
If I know there’s nasties that should go into the septic tank, I want to have a diverter valve I can turn to drain it into there, instead. The rest of the time — off to the gray water tank.
I would love a system where I can fill the toilet cistern with gray water from that tank. Imagine how much potable water could be saved that way alone.
Definitely giving this a lot of thought at the moment, because water isn’t cheap, and frankly, there is no limitless supply of it, either.


Regulations

But there are regulations to consider. I’m not sure exactly what they are yet, here in France, but I’m starting to make enquiries about what is possible, what is allowed, and what isn’t.


So yeah. If you are able to put in a gray water system — do it. Not only will you save money on your water bills, but you’ll also help ease, maybe even prevent, water shortages in the future.
And quite possibly have a green garden in a drought, without spending an extra penny!