Thursday, August 28, 2008
See that? That's about 20 gallons of water that was used to wash a large load of laundry in my high efficiency washer. There were a few more gallons that belonged to this load but I had to scoop them out to prevent the tub from overflowing. If 20+ gallons is high efficiency what on earth would be the water consumption on a regular washing machine? Just look at all the water that can be used again! Water is precious out here in the land of 106 degree weather, especially now that our state is in a drought and we're being urged to reduce the ammount of water we use.
I've been washing my laundry like this for a while now; I use the gray water to water my back lawn (if you can call it a lawn.) We don't have an elaborate system set up. Our system involves me carting buckets back and forth to the more dead-looking spots on the lawn. I have a hunch that as my pregnancy progresses the lawn will be greener closer to the back door. =)
So far, the grass hasn't seemed to mind this slightly-used water. I think it's happy to get whatever is offered - anything to water down the heavy doses of dog pee. We don't have a vegtable garden (I don't count the two tomato plans which are currently doing their best to convert dog pee into something useful) but if we did I wouldn't use it to water anything I later plan to eat. I do use it on my roses and they are appreciative (do you see a theme here regarding the desparate gratitude of all my plants??)
My laundry soap is biodegradable and environmentally friendly so there's no worries there, except for the possiblity of it altering the pH of my soil over time. To avoid that all I have to do is water with regular water every so often.
Obviously when I wash a load of diapers we hook the water back up to drain down the pipes. That can get to be a bit of a drag. I usually wash diapers every other day and it means that twice per load Superman has to lean the washer forward while I wiggle the drain hose into place. Since our washer backs up to the outside wall I think it would be super nifty for my super husband to install a valve in the ABS pipe drain and connect the drain to a hose bib that I can selectively use to water the lawn with "clean" water. Yeah that would be awesome. Are you listening, super husband? =)