Friday, March 9, 2012

Water usage!

So our water bill came, and we've increased our usage by 13.6% when compared to the same period of time last year.  Ugh.  Please note, last year it rained all winter, but this year it did not so we had to water the lawn.  There's no dormant period for the lawn here in San Diego.  Stuff grows all year round, and it's just about impossible to bring grass back from the dead.  So don't even bother to tell me we'd reduce our water usage by not watering the lawn.  That's not really an option.  Unless we want dead grass.

I tried to create a spreadsheet outlining the ebbs and flows (ha ha, I'm so punny) of our water usage, but I only found one statement from last year.  So much for my organizational prowess. 

None the less, in the last billing period, we managed to use 142 gallons, on average, per day.  One-hundred forty-two!  Doesn't that feed a family in Ethiopia for a year or something?  And that doesn't even include the water used to make the stuff we use (e.g. water used for irrigating the veggies we eat).  So I'm obviously back on my periodic environmental bents.  Mostly because I've been reading the Skinny Bitch series of books.

For those not in the know, the authors aren't really interested in making people skinny or bitches, but they thought it was a catchy title, and they really want to make people healthier, which generally also means thinner. 

Anyway, 142 gallons of water a day sounds a little excessive to me.  I'd like to get it under 100.  But that's a big decrease, so I'm going to shoot for a 10% decrease over the next two periods (which is roughly four months).  I'd aim for the end of this billing cycle, but we were in the middle of it when we received our bill, and I sort of feel that that would be unfair.  I mean, it'd be like giving a budget to someone and telling them: you've got to get this in check by December, but it's June, and we've already blown more than half of this, so good luck, buddy.

So, a 10% decrease would be 14 fewer gallons per day.  Here's what I've come up with:
  • Shorter showers.  This is really all me, because Captain America is a pretty speedy showerer.  This is actually in direct conflict with my new favorite hair product, Wen, which wants you to wait seven minutes before rinsing the stuff out.  So here's what I did yesterday: I brought the space heater into the little bathroom so I could turn off the water while washing my body etc. and not get cold, a la Jory-style. Although now that I think of it, I don't think Voracious has blogged too much about the Jory bathtime routine.  And for the record, we are so low on our electricity usage that getting solar panels on our house would pay off in about a billion years.  So I thought it was a reasonable trade-off.
  • Captain America does have a habit of leaving the water running when rinsing the dishes and loading them into the dishwasher.  And by running, I mean not actually running into another vessel, but just down the drain.  It actually drives me crazy, but I'm not a stupid woman: I'm ecstatic that my husband does the dishes.  I did, however, suggest that he be more cognizant of that.  I also suggested that we only rinse the really dirty stuff, like the spaghetti plates.  So we'll see how this works.
  • I could shower at the gym more, which wouldn't necessarily reduce my water usage per se, but it would reduce what we pay for.
  • And my creme de la creme idea: Travel more!
(And do you love how my bulleted list is not parallel?  That's to annoy my crazy copyediting teacher!  See that, crazy, I'm smart enough to know it's not in parallel, and I don't care!)

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