A few more things, that I'm considering due to the drought in the Northeast this year:
- If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down. The thing I like about this philosophy is that if you put enough yellow in the bowl, it will eventually turn brown, so it's somewhat self-regulating. Just remember you'll need to clean the toilet bowl more. My recommendation is after you do flush, scrub with a toilet bowl brush and squirt a little of your favorite toilet bowl cleaner in there, and let it sit until the next use.
- Better yet, forget about shitting in your drinking water and invest in a composting toilet, and use the humanure to fertilize your gardens and lawn. Crazy? Not really. If it's well-composted the risk of pathogens from human waste is extremely low, and it's lots of cheap, high-quality fertilizer. I really want to have a friend bite into a tomato and tell them what it's made of after they've said how delicious it is.
- Greywater is also your friend. Wash your dishes in a washtub and use the spent water to water the lawn or garden. The trick here is to stick to biodegradable soaps and detergents. You can also use greywater from the shower for the same purpose. We're contemplating a hose run out of our 2nd floor bathroom window down to the garden and using a siphon to extract tub water. Again, be concerned about what you're putting in the water--this might not be a good idea if you're an auto mechanic or painter, say.
- Just be conscious about not turning on the water full tilt. Even though we have a low flow shower head, I still save water by not turning on the water as much. Now, this is hard--I like a powerful shower--but some days it's not as necessary. Also washing your hands, rinsing dishes, whatever else, you can probably use half as much water and not notice the difference.
Even though we're in mandatory water restrictions
now, I imagine keeping at least some of these habits even after the restrictions are lifted. Water purification
actually takes a great deal of energy
, so reducing the amount of it you use is saving energy as well.