My post yesterday (Oh No, Not This Too) about waterless toilets led to some pretty interesting comments from some readers. My blog was meant to be a bit humorous and satirical, but saving our water resources is not funny at all when we consider that we are extremely wasteful in using this God-given gift for hundreds and hundreds of years pretty thoughtlessly.
I grew up with parents who knew how to conserve water. They had both grown up on farms in the mid-1900s to the mid 1930s when they struck out on their own and moved into town. Both had known only outhouses for bathrooms; pumping water by hand for drinking and other uses; collecting rain water to use for washing clothes; when it was Wash Day, the wash water was used over and over in an old fashioned wooden-tubbed washing machine run by foot power (pedaling) or small gas engines later. The rinse tubs’ water was also used over and over. And after it was all done, the wash water (pretty dirty by now) was used to scrub down things like shanties and milk house floors. If anything was left by then, it was used to water the geraniums and pansies around the house in the summertime. Nothing wasted at all!!!
When you compare my parents’ childhood use of water, today’s water usage is really careless. I know teenagers who take hour long showers depleting the entire hot water supply for the whole household. Lawn sprinklers run endlessly during the heat of the day to assure a green lawn. Swimming pools and decorative lawn pools are filled with mega gallons of water from a city’s wells or other water supply. Could we do without these accoutrements of modern lifestyle? You bet we could! If all cities put a really high tax on water usage, lawn watering would cease; showers would be short and the shower-er would be just as clean as if an hour long one was taken; we could return to the old swimming holes and lakes to cool ourselves off in the hot summers….a whole lot of water would be saved.
Clothes washing could be a water saving situation also if water savers were required on all makes of washing machines. There is nothing wrong with using laundry water over at least 3 times if you sort out your dirty clothes properly. It was commonly done when wringer washers were the only type of washing machine available. People do not have to wash clothes every day—-we could go back to the old "wash day" and get it done with much water saved in the process.
But there would have to be laws passed (and enforced) if any of these things were to happen. The modern generation knows no boundaries when it comes to using water for all the things they want to do with it. They have never known a want of water. We are probably more fortunate in our region than others in dry areas where droughts are common and water supplies come close to disappearing. But just because we, or others, live in an area where we have a big supply of natural water from aquifers, rivers and lakes…does not mean we could not conserve a large amount of water every day. ( In the Depression Years of the 1930s a.k.a. known as the "Dirty Thirties", due to arid drought conditions in this area, the Red River dried up in the summer of 1936 and Fargo-Moorhead faced a serious water shortage.)
I am curious to see if any of the readers of this blog come up with ways and means to be good stewards of our water supplies. The past blog’s information on the Third World Waterless Toilet generated some good comments, and thinking up ways to save water might do the same for this blog on Sunday evening.