Guerrilla Water Conservation Tips for Broke-Asses
It’s up to broke-asses like us to do something. The Sierra snowpack is at only 18% of its normal capacity, but I have no clue what that even means. What I do know is that some Cali towns are already rationing water, and millions of Californians are suddenly grappling with the question of whether to flush if it’s just pee. (Diagnosis: You should not flush if it’s just pee. More on this below.)
For you broke-asses grappling with these and other water use questions, we’ve put together this handy guide of household water conservation tips. If you know of some more, pipe up in the comments below! As a broke-ass bonus, none of these methods cost jackshit and they will actually save you money.
Don’t Flush if it’s Just Pee
Back in the 70s when he was fucking Linda Ronstadt, our trippy-ass governor Jerry Brown popularized the phrase “If it yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down”. This maxim still holds true today.
Realize that the toilet is the biggest water hog in your household. The average US toilet uses 2.6 gallons per flush, and the average US toilet-user flushes 5.5 times per day, according to statistics from engineering firm Aquacraft. That’s almost 15 gallons a day, per person, times 38 million Californians. If you can cut your flushing in half or less, you’re saving about 7 gallons per day and 50 gallons per week. It is a No. 1 priority that we get as many Californians as possible to stop flushing their No. 1.
I know, it’s gross and it makes you feel like you’re back in college at Santa Cruz. But not flushing pee will literally save lives and livelihoods in an age where water rationing is already a reality.
The Old ‘Flush Without Flushing’ Bucket Method
Californians who grew up in the 70s looooove telling their old water conservation stories. Most of them will recall how they used to keep a bucket in their bathroom. They’d put the bucket in the shower to collect the initial burst of cold shower water while the water flow was still warming up. That extra water would then be saved and used to eliminate toilet flushing entirely.
You can still do this today. If you rapidly dump that excess “bucket water” into your toilet after use, this creates a siphon effect that will force the toilet to flush without using any additional water whatsoever. Some dude handily demonstrates this method in a YouTube video on flushing with a bucket of leftover water.
Save the Cold Water from when Your Shower or Sink is Warming Up
If you can’t bring yourself to using a bucket to reduce toilet flushing, at least use that water for your house plants, lawn or outdoor plants. Your showering and dishwashing waste water from initial cold faucet water run can be kept and used. Save every drop of it and use for regular household purposes.
Take “Navy showers”
A typical shower uses 60 fucking gallons of water. A Navy shower typically uses only 3 gallons. The Navy shower is an extreme water conservation tactic wherein you turn the shower off immediately after getting your body wet. You then later yourself in soap and shampoo without the water running, and turn the shower back on just to rinse the lather off.
The Navy shower uses exponentially less water as a normal shower. As TreeHugger observes, “The only drawback is having to contend with a weird reaction from your spouse when they ask what you are doing in the bathroom, and you tell them you are taking a shower, despite the complete silence.”
People, water is a real scarcity and we need to get extreme in conserving that shit. Wait, did I just call your water “shit”? The Bay Area has some of the cleanest drinking water in the country! But if California needs to ration water and send our water to smaller communities, it’s not going to stay that way. This historic drought could eventually lead to a compromise in the quality of your drinking water. And that could be a lot grosser than the sight of someone else’s pee in the toilet.
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