Fresh Water Stewardship

Water conservation is extremely important when you only have a finite supply of it such as in a motorhome, unless you’re hooked up at a park or campsite and then I suppose, you could just leave the faucet on all the time.  I enjoy the prospect of limiting myself to a certain allotment of fresh water everyday.  I won’t set a water limit, but I do wish to reduce my water consumption, both hot and cold of course.  Limiting my resources to me, means I can do more with less, and when less is all that is available, I’m prepared for it.   See:  A Winnebago For The End Of Days.  Needing fewer resources also means needing less money which amounts to more time devoted to what I really want to do with my life which, right now appears to be developing resource saving technology in an open source, free manner.  So, it it’s all kind of self fulfilling.  Wastefulness really irks me too because it goes against the natural order of biological life.  Inefficient species do not survive long on this planet.  

A note on reducing consumption:  The intention to conserve and taking action therein, is a noble effort which will likely produce the desired effect, but without the knowledge of just how much one consumes to start with and how exactly those actions are affecting resource consumption, results in guesswork and is, to put it bluntly, half-assed.   That is why it is my intention to track our water consumption in addition to every other measurable resource practicable.  A fresh water supply is a luxury on this planet, even though few of us look at it that way.  City water is often metered, mainly for billing purposes and I suppose if one were so inclined, they could acquire this information for these very purposes.  But, I’m going to be living on a self contained vehicle with my own water supply (to be refiled when necessary) with all the needed pumps, pressure tanks, valves, piping and fixtures for supplying two people with wash water.  I will be installing my own water meter after the main water supply line fed from my water pump.  This will allow me to track the flow rate at any particular moment of the entire motorhome or just an individual faucet.  Additionally, I will be able to log the daily, weekly, monthly consumption, and use this information to infer as to whether my conservation efforts are working.

Our individual habits of water use are likely to affect the water meter as much or more than something like low flow water fixtures.  Since I believe that technology should be designed with the user in mind (seems obvious, but not always the case), the implementation of various apparatuses should be intended to augment conservationist behaviors, without inconveniencing the user (like taking sponge baths).

A water use behavior that is wasteful and by now is common knowledge, is leaving the faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving.  Now, I don’t do this and neither should you, but sometimes a free hand isn’t available to shut off the water such as when I’m washing my face or cleaning something really dirty off.  Washing dishes is a prime example for this.  In my mind, I have two free appendages available standing there on the floor:  my feet.  I’ve seen foot pedal operated sinks, just not enough of them.  I intend to install a foot pedal valve for my bathroom sink and later on the kitchen sink.  This might be a completely hands-free function or it might require the user to adjust the valve at the faucet to the desired flow first.  I haven’t worked that out yet.  Also, it only makes sense to have two valves:  one for cold and one for hot.  Not only would it be convenient, but it probably make for less splashing and soiling of the faucet handles.  So, that’s one thing.

Another wasteful habit is leaving the shower run while scrubbing up.  This isn’t something many people probably think about, but it’s the same thing as brushing your teeth.  I first read of this a few weeks ago while researching RV living.  It’s commonly called a “NAVY Shower”.  Turn the shower on, get wet, turn it off, scrub up, turn the water back on and rinse off.  I don’t know how much water this saves, but I’m guessing a lot.  The data will show.  The biggest drawback of this behavior is it can be a little chilly to stand there soaked and wet while you scrub up.

Then, there’s the toilet.  Damned things.  Toilets waste an incredible amount of potable water.  I don’t care how great your low flow toilet is, you’re still defecating into perfectly good drinking water, turning it toxic.  DIsgusting.  If you insist upon shitting in the water upstream from your Earthly neighbors, then at least use the grey water draining from your sinks and showers to flush your feces.  No sense in using fresh water.  Better yet, do like I plan to do and use a dry composting toilet.  They don’t use any fresh water at all!  See:  Proud Pooper

We don’t plan on have  washing machine for a while, and that’s a whole other ball of wax.  High efficiency washing machines use a fraction of the water a top loader uses.  Beyond that, I don’t know much about them.

On the subject of hot water consumption, I will save for another time.  Be well, and fix that leaky faucet!

-M.C. Pletcher

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Posted in Dwelling, Hot Water, Personal, Water

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