Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Extreme Water Conservation

The Friday before Labor Day, my husband discovered a gushing leak in a pipe under the house, and he shut off our water. Good luck getting a plumber to come out on a holiday weekend.

I haven't been camping since I was a Girl Scout, and I never liked it that much. Now I was forced to camp out in my own home.

I never realized how many times a day I normally wash my hands. Hand sanitizer just doesn't feel as clean.

Those airline packages of refreshing moist towelettes came in handy as a substitute for face washing. And I found some old cotton balls and astringent under my sink, left over from an abandoned three-part facial plan.

Brushing your teeth doesn't require the faucet to be running. Moisten the brush slightly, slather on the toothpaste, and do a cursory rinse afterward, holding the brush over the sink for double duty. I made one small bottle of water last several days.

Sponge bathing is not ideal, but hey, in some cultures, people don't bathe every day. When I lived in France as a student, I only bathed about three times a week. Of course, it was winter, and my apartment was so cold, I didn't like shivering when I took off my layers and layers of clothing.

We had food in our refrigerator, but cooking was still a challenge. I make a lot of different pasta dishes, but no way was I going to use that much drinking water to boil noodles. I have a habit of washing every spinach leaf when I prepare a salad, but since the bag said the spinach was already triple-washed, I decided to trust it.

Fortunately, we had recently done laundry and run the dishwasher. Otherwise... that's why they have Laundromats and paper plates.

When out running errands, we made use of the public restrooms. First and last stop. We can afford to buy bottled water, but balk. It costs as much per gallon as gasoline!

We have a decorative fountain surrounded by a pool in front of our house, and the pool was brimming with water from recent rains. We figured out we could haul five-gallon buckets from the pool to fill the toilet tank. I felt like I was living in a village in Africa, drawing my water from a well. And we used well water to rinse our dishes, too.

No one should have to live like this long-term, but unfortunately, some people in this world have it much worse, on a permanent basis. From this inconvenient situation, I learned I can get by with a lot less water in an emergency.

Now that we are blessed with indoor plumbing again, I'm going to go take a long, luxurious shower.

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