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Tuesday, 8 May 2007

SITREP: water usage at Brady base camp

sitrep: noun, informal, a report on the current military situation in a particular area. ORIGIN 1940s: from sit(uation) rep(ort).

Our council rates notice for the first quarter of 2007 records an average daily water consumption of 423 litres per day. This compares with 430 litres per day in Q1 2006 and approximately 450 litres per day in Q4 2006. That's for a household with two adults and two children... now three children as of the 3rd of May.

Here's a quick list of the things we're doing to keep our water consumption as low as possible.

1. No garden watering (the gardens here are not really worth saving, anyway)
2. Short showers with the flow turned down
3. No flushing unless necessary... "if it's yellow let it mellow"
4. Less urgent of two evils: we're using disposable nappies instead of washing cloth ones
5. Using the "water saver" buttons on the washing machine and dish washer
6. Fixing leaks (only the loo and one tap have needed attention so far)
7. Living with filthy cars
8. Shaving over a sink with a small amount of water in it
9. Taps off while brushing teeth and washing hands
10. Absolutely minimal use of water to rinse dishes

We've just ordered two 5000 litre water tanks (from a local manufacturer) but demand is so great it's going to take about four months for them to arrive. By placing one at each end of our long, narrow house we should be able to capture most of the rain which falls on our roof. 10Kl represents about one month of average rainfall over the past year, or about two weeks worth if you take the average over the last ten years. At the rates of consumption noted above that would last about 23 days - just about enough to make us self-sufficient for water if the current pattern holds.

I've started a little project to monitor our consumption more closely by reading the meter myself and will be reporting here every week or so on our average daily water usage. We'll see how low we can get it before the tanks are installed and then watch what happens afterwards.

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