On a couple of days last week, here in Victoria the weather gods treated us to hot hot summer temperatures plus a couple of the dooziest of storms we’ve seen for a while which will certainly have helped to top up the dams plus scare the living daylights out of anyone when the gale blew and the thunder roared overhead – in actual fact the whole of the east coast has been battling storms and floods for a couple of weeks so dams and rivers have certainly been running fast and furious everywhere
Watching it come down had me thinking about the years when there was no water to be had at all. When here in Australia towards the end of the last century (1996/97) we were in drought, one which lasted for many many years. During that time the word of the day was conserve. Conserve as much water as we could –
– we didn’t know when it was going to rain again and it was possible the drastic water restrictions we had then would last forever.
So as we used them I would gather dishes and stack them in the big kitchen sink to wash once a day (usually mid morning ) in the little sink – that water then washed the stove, cats dishes, and at times was baled into a small bucket to use to wash the kitchen floor – oh, and then it would get tossed over one of the plants near the back door.
The first water drawn before it got hot was collected in a jug and used to fill the kettle during the day. ’If it’s yellow let it mellow- if it’s brown flush it down’ was a catch cry even little kids became familiar with.
Showers were cut down to as short a time as possible – always with a bucket to keep you company which was then emptied over a plant near the back door, and the baths I loved were rare treats. Treats that would end in hard work when conscious of making use of every drop The Golfer would bale into the bucket , walk it down the hallway to toss each bucket load over the hardy plants at the front door.
Then La Nina came to visit early in 2010, the drought (now called the Millenium Drought) began to break and the rains returned – heavy rains that brought floods to just about every state – the strict water restrictions were eased and a new set of Permanent (still relevant) Water Saving Rules came into place late in December 2011. Hosing your driveway is still a no – no!
And thats when our attitudes seemed to change – oh how quickly they changed and many of us forgot the conservative ways we’d learn’t over those years. I will acknowledge I am guilty of easing up on some of my practices and I’m also sure that if it didn’t rain so much these days we wouldn’t be so carefree and unconcerned. In my defence I will say we did install a very large water tank to collect rainwater and use on the garden and for many years now haven’t used the hose on any of the plants outside.
As they say, that was then and this is now.
Those who live in rural areas and are on tank water (pumped up or bought in) still follow their same practices.
I’m in town and yes, I still catch the cold before hot water to use in the kettle and unless I’m doing a big cooking session, try to wash up just once a day BUT have been known to rinse cups under the tap. Also I’ve cleaned my teeth with the tap running – flushed the loo after a pee – forgotten to change the load setting on the washing machine – I’ve even put it on for one item. Showers are still short – my baths (more frequent these days) are not quite so full as they used to be – to be honest they help when my back is playing up – and I’ll admit there are times when I just pull the plug and don’t give a thought to the water running out down the drain.
Conserving water for me means a lower water bill (metered) as well as a lower gas bill (heated)
How about you ?
Have you stuck to your water saving ways?
Or have they changed here and there?
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