One of the easiest ways to reduce stress on water supplies by lowering home water usage and costs as while still supporting a thriving landscape is to use grey water wherever possible.
Fresh water is a precious resource, and becoming more so as more countries and regions feel the impacts of ongoing droughts caused by changing climate conditions and bad infrastructure maintenance.
Saving water is on ongoing challenge, and the most effective way to meet this challenge is to reduce the overall demand for fresh water by harvesting rainwater, employing water-wise landscaping, using only water-efficient appliances and fixtures. Unfortunately this still leaves a lot of water going down the drain.
Grey water is the water that comes out of the drains of showers, baths, sinks, and washing machines, as opposed to black water, which is what gets flushed down the toilet. Grey water can be readily and safely be used for landscaping, watering houseplants, or even flushing the toilet. To do this, however, we need to manually divert or capture it.
Another way to use potentially wasted water is by capturing and using ‘warm-up’ water, which is water that goes generally runs down the drain as you’re waiting for the hot water to reach the tap or shower. Place a bucket or large bowl under the tap or shower while waiting for the water to get hot, and use it to water plants.
Here are some safe methods of reusing greywater:
Greywater from the kitchen sink or dishwasher can contain organic matter and has the potential for harbouring pathogens while a bathroom sink or tub often has minimal amounts of organic matter and soap residue.
- Grey water from your bathroom basin can be used to flush your toilet by either re-plumbing your sink drains into a grey water system, by manually bailing out full sinks into buckets or by or removing the J-trap from beneath the sink and replacing it with a bucket to catch the grey water. Use to flush the toilet, water the landscape or trees, or to water house plants.
- Grey water from your bath can be used to water your garden by diverting the outlet pipe directly into the garden or into a grey water system.
- Grey water from your shower can be utilised to water plants by diverting the drainage system as above or by standing in a large basin while showering and then throwing that water on the plants.
- Grey water from your laundry is best used by removing the outlet pipe of the washing machine from the house drain, and connecting it to a longer run of hose that can reach your yard. Either water each time you do laundry, or connect the pipe to a greywater system and water as needed.