Many of us have lived through times of limited water. As the news reports here show extremely low levels in the dam reservoirs and lakes, the politicians assure us that there is no problem. One has said that praying for rain is cheaper than rain bombs. Ads on television talk about how every drop of water is precious, but there are no practical suggestions for how to save water. Well, as we pray for rain, there are other things we can do to save water.
Since I have had practice doing without water in the cafe from time to time, I have had some experience with lack of water. I think of it as camping. I have a big stash of full water bottles under my sink and in the bathrooms.
I have been checking out sites for advice we can use here in Istanbul (many talk about outside hoses, etc, which most of us don’t have). Here are some tips.
Save flushes! ‘If it’s brown, flush it down; if it’s yellow, let it mellow.’ I notice in the cafe that men often do not flush the toilet and that is OK with me. Women, even if there is a little bit of toilet paper in the toilet, you can save the flush for the next time.
Put toilet paper in the trash bin instead of in the toilet. That way you aren’t tempted to flush. In fact some old buildings have dodgy plumbing and residents are asked to do that anyway.
Put a big jar full of stones or sand in the toilet tank so it will fill with less water. Make sure the lid on the jar is on tight!
Don’t use your toilet as a trash can. Put tissues or hair into the garbage.
If you are buying a toilet, consider getting a dual flush one to save water.
Take showers instead of baths. Showers use less water. And take shorter showers.
If you are waiting for the water to get hot, save the water in a bucket and use it for other things, like watering your plants or saving in bottles.
At home, I have learned that it actually takes little water to have a camp shower– water heated up on the stove and then more cool water to mix in. About a large bottle of water suffices with careful use. It actually feels very luxurious to pour water over my head to wash my hair.
Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin, rather than running water to clean them.
When I have dishes in the sink that need soaking, I arrange dishes so that the other water I am using goes into those dishes or pots. Some people think they should not wash their hands over dirty dishes, but it actually helps to get those bowls and plates soaking. Soak pots and pans for a while before scrubbing them. The stuck-on food will come off more easily and with less water. You can even use a soaking pot for washing other dishes in.
When washing dishes by hand, run the water into a basin to wash them (you can wash as you fill) and then rinse them. You can rinse them in another basin or you can use the water at low volume.
When rinsing dishes to put in the dishwasher, you can actually use a dish brush to get the food off, rather than running a lot of water over them. If you soak them (see above), the food comes off more easily.
Run the dishwasher only when it is full.
Set the water level to the size of the load.
When buying a new washing machine, get one that is more water and energy efficient.
If you have a balcony, put a bucket out to save water when (if!) it rains. You can use it to water your plants.
Water your plants in the evenings, not in the full heat of the day. The water will not evaporate so fast.
Good luck this summer!