Instructables

Save 368 Billion Gallons of H20 Per Year

video Save 368 Billion Gallons of H20 Per Year
use waste water to flush your toilet

2007 estimate f households:
111,162,259
(http://www.census.gov/population/projections/nation/hh-fam/table1n.txt)

average annual household water use:
127,400 gallons

percentage used for toilets:
26.7% = 33,124 gallons per household per year
(http://www.toiletabcs.com/toilet-water-conservation.html)

Sooooo,....
33,124 * 111,162,259 = 368,213,866,716 = 368 billion gallons per year saved by using this method if everyone in the US does it.

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overview if video not working:
put a bucket over your bath tub drain so that while you take a shower it will fill with water splashing off of you.
when full set bucket aside and use the water to flush your toilet by pouring the water directly over the toilet drain til everythings flushed away.
You can do this using a very small amount of water from the bucket if you aim right and hold it high enough (the force of the water falling into the drain sucks everything away).
ElSergio3 years ago
I don't understand the need to conserve water. There must be something that I just don't understand. Can some one please explain to me, how on a planet that is 70.8% water (by surface area), where we have developed the method to purify water, we can have a water shortage? It is a simple process to boil water and collect the steam which means salinity is not an issue.

I don't mean to be condescending, I just really don't get it.
leevonk (author)  ElSergio3 years ago
1) there are a lot of places that people live that aren't right next to the ocean.
2) it takes a lot of energy to desalinate water, energy costs money and creates pollution.
3) it is impossible to pump desalinated water from the oceans to all inland inhabited areas over tens of thousands of miles in the quantities needed (for farming, drinking, livestock, washing, toilets, etc). This would require immense new infrastructures.
4) things other than humans need water too, if we drain all local water and then start desalinating and pumping new water inland for only ourselves this would still be a problem for the 'natural surroundings".
5) probably other reasons too, those are just off the top of my head..

Desalinated water! Hmm. The only way to desalinate water is Reverse Osmosis. Reverse osmosis is a cold distilling process, not as pure as heat distillation but you still have water that is only wet, there are no minerals it it, 99.97% pure! A 4' cubic gravel pit, on the side of your home, filters out the large impurities that are in rain water from your roof top. When the filter fills with too much debris, you back-flush the debris out and continue to filter from that time one. The water in your cistern (3000 to 5000 gallons!) is now clean enough to use a Hospital Grade filter, with Infra-Red, to clean-up the water and make great drinking water. The rest is used for your yard and flushing toilets. City water should be for back-up when your cistern runs dry. THEN, YOU are managing YOUR water supply correctly! Desalinating water is not the answer, it is a stop-gap attempt to supply water to people not smart enough to gather what is available, to the individual home, for free! It also fills some ones (someone elses!) pocket and supports ignorance. Gather your own water, leave Mother Nature to her own designs, stop feeding 'The Machine!' The energy needed to pump water for desalination is huge, add into that fact that, here in the SFBA, we use drinking water to make electricity and you soon see the oxymoron of desalinated water.

Okay, I can handle this one. Sure, the Planet is 70% water but only 11% of that is drinking water and 8% of that is in our glaciers. The glaciers are thawing and disappearing. Hear in California we are starting Spring with 30% of the water needed for daily consumption. Hetch Hetchy, our primary source of water for the SFBA not only supplies drinking water, they use it to make electricity aw well. As a Nation the united States uses the most of everything. #1 customer for Saudi Arabian oil, we create 40% of the Planets Waste and use 45% of the resources available world wide. Every year there are stories in the news about how someone got caught-up by a sudden torrential down pour of rain and they are swept down a flood control ditch and need to be rescued. But everyone seems to miss the big picture. The 'victim' is floating down a man-made aqueduct and all that Fresh Rain Water is going out to sea. In the Sierra's there is a lake, Mono Lake, which was once a Sportsman's Paradise. Fishing, Boating, Skiing it had it all, then some moron said, "The LA basin needs that water, Mother nature will make more, all that Snow will refill it but the L.A. Basin needs it now!" The built the Aqueduct, the took the water, and the lake has not filled yet, decades later. Hetch Hecthy was once a beautiful valley that rivaled Yosemite. Up went the damn, the valley is under water and the SFBA has their water AND they make electricity also for the SFBA. Problem, when this all happened there were only 10 million people in the SFBA, to day their are 37 million and that number is down from what was 43 million. The water and electricity infrastructure has NOT been upgraded to adapt to the population growth. They just work the generators harder and pump the water faster, the water for 10 million people to 37 million people. There just isn't enough water. If the weather goes dry and there isn't enough snow fall, there isn't enough water because we use it for drinking AND watering our precious gardens AND making electricity. So what happens, "Water? You want Water? Well, you're going to have to CONSERVE the water we have or there won't be enough!?" I have been in California all my 57 years, there was a time when a drought was a 'worry!' Today, thanks to population growth, irresponsible water consumption, water district miss management, and the rape of the California Farmers, not to mention DECADES of non conservation. we are in a near state of emergency where water is concerned!

That;s the bad News!

Today, if EVERYONE gets with the program, we can make do with the water we have. BUT, we will need to filter it because it is polluted, to some degree, and we do NOTHING to keep what falls from the sky! It is all about, "Dangit! It's raining again, did I bring in the patio furniture? Darn, did I clean-out the rain gutters"

When it should be, "It's Raining, COOL! Gonna fill my back-up water supply, flush the under ground aquifer, add to the snow pack and I'll just have to slow down a little on my way to work."

I hope I enlightened you!

pddonovan20115 months ago

How to 'save' water!

When I was young, my Father had a near terminal genetic disposition, we called it the 'Cheap Gene!' THEN it seemed like he was just being a cheapskate, today his methods should be considered pure Genius where Saving Money and our planet, is concerned. Sticking with saving water/money! Here is how it worked. Two half gallon containers, in the toilets, saved a gallon every flush. Flushing only '#2s' and not '#1s', saved an entire toilet flush every time! Showering over a five gallon bucket, for flushing the toilet, reused water and again. Two 55 gallon drums, with faucets welded at the bottom, placed on a sturdy 3' tall 2X4 frame caught water from the Washing Machine, we used zero phosphate detergent and very little earth friendly water softener. Used the 'gray water' for watering the vegetable garden. Two 3000 gallon cisterns captured rain water and we rarely used 'city water' for the garden/landscaping.

That's water, now for home energy! Triple window coverings, pull shades, shears AND curtains, provide great insulation from cold winter days/nights and super hot Summer Days. When the technology became available, we were the first to get insulating foam pumped into the walls and fire retardant fortified cellulose insulation (Recycled Newspapers) blown into the attic, 12 inches thick. The house stayed cool all day and warm all night. On the coldest days, we would run the heater, for half an hour and it would shut-off before the half hour ended. The house stayed warm all night and cooled enough to stay cool on the hottest days. Our house never had A/C.

Food costs. We bought and super insulated, a 32 cubic foot freezer. We packed home grown food, into half gallon milk jugs and stacked them close to each other and always had fresh-frozen food all year long. Blew Relatives minds when we had fresh Corn-on-the-Cob for Christmas Diner. The lowest space in the Freezer was a huge basket, we bought four day old bread, from the Bakery Thrift Store, a dozen Loaves every time. I remember going to the store, with my Mother, and we would buy meat, milk, eggs and the stuff for cleaning. For the weekend we would buy Salad makings, enough for two days, because Lettuce doesn't keep fresh for very long and require too much room to grow fresh. Everything else came from the Backyard Garden. We grew five fruit trees and rotated crops every year and returned the 'leavings' back to the ground. Read that as, 'Dig a ditch, bury the corn stalks, bean vines, tomato plants, you know, the 'Leavings' which rotted all winter long. The next spring we dig them up, spread them with compost and manure around the yard and till the ground smooth for planting. Prior to these practices, we spent two summers preparing the ground. Every day for an entire summer I would come home from summer school and grab the shovel. Dig the ground and remove the shovel full and grind it through a home made screed. Thus removing the rocks from the soil, a 4' X 4' area every day, BOY did I get in shape that summer! We were green, ecologically responsible, Hobby Farmers before it was 'trendy!'

There are draw backs to this practice. To this day I can't eat a store bought tomato, they taste terrible to me and make me a little sick. I travel forty miles into the California valley to buy fresh picked strawberries so they don't disappoint as well. The 'wood' they sell as Peaches, Plums and Nectarines are indicative of the destruction of our farm lands in this nation. I am saddened and thankful that I am old enough to look forward to dieing before the total economic collapse of this nation. I see it every day in the cost of life. The house my parents paid $32,500.00 for, in 1968. Sold recently for $1,200,000.00 and the cost goes up every year. When I retire I plan to go to Arizona and build an Earth Ship over a fall out shelter next to a 5000 gallon cistern and hope I die from old age and not the stupidity of man kind. If every household put a 4000 gallon cistern into the ground for capturing their rain water, California would become the single largest water storage entity on the planet. We would never hear about 'drought anything' again.

The current mind set is to sacrifice your health in pursuit of your wealth, then use your wealth to regain your health. Imagine the human potential for greatness of everyone had practiced responsible ecological land management all the passed century. Today the economic demise of this Nation would not be possible let alone inevitable. The fat, lazy, couch potato children would not exist because, as did I, they would have learned the value of maintaining the 'Family Garden Plot' and worked as hard as I did (Starting at age 10!) to insure healthy nutrition for the entire family. Add the 'Barter and Trade' formality to that equation and you have the makings for a very healthy, strong nation of people. Too bad, too late and too far gone. So sad!

It is time for everyone to take responsibility for their future This is one great way to start, keep it up, expand it, educate those around you, make the commitment.

TheGreatS3 years ago
Thank you for this!. I live in a desert so water conservation is huge. My shower is a shower/bathtub and the bath tub faucet doesn't close all the way when you want to take a shower, so there is a ton of wasted water just flowing down the drain. This is a great way to use that wasted water!
WhiteGrub5 years ago
For my shower, I keep a bucket under the spiqot until the water warms up, then pull it out, set it aside for the next flush (flush, then pour it into the top part, after removing the lid (be careful and don't drop the top, it will shatter). Just plain tap water that would go down the drain, no soap...
leevonk (author)  WhiteGrub5 years ago
yeah, I had thought about the soapy water maybe causing problems at the sewage treatment plants, but people use those toilet bowl cleaner pucks which are probably similar to soap, so I thought it should be ok (especially since the soap concentration is very low, at least at the end of my showers). Also, I don't use shampoo or anything, just soap. If you use all kinds of crazy chemicals for your hair then those might be bad for the sewage treatment plant (if people did it on a large scale), but I'm not sure.
Doesn't it go into the sewer when you take a shower anyways?
leevonk (author)  dillio1214 years ago
depends on the house. Some are one way others are other way. Usually in cities all residential water goes to one pipe but rainwater (collected in street drains) goes to a different pipe.
lovegroove5 years ago
What is the name of the song? Good show.
leevonk (author)  lovegroove5 years ago
Back on the farm we had to haul our water we used for drinking and the well held 900 gallons. It was about 6-7 ft wide and about 8-9 ft deep approx. I just remember how cool the temp was when we drained it and cleaned it occaisionally.
We dug another well, 7 ft by 14 ft. This well had a separate pump in our basement and in the well itself. The one in the well was used to water the garden. Here's where it gets interesting.

I designed a forced air system to force the warm/hot humid air into the well and let it condensate from the cooler temperature inside being below the dewpoint. Here we have humidity between 80-100% in the summer, especially in droughts. A 2 inch dia. PVC pipe 20 ft long set in the ground, without forced air will strip 1100 gallons of water a day at 50% humidity. The pump inside the well made sure it never got within 6 ft of the top to allow room for the forced air to condense. A pipe with 3/4 inch holes in it for drainage, was used to vent the forced air. A vented shed covered the well.
This became our laundry water, shower water, and toilet water. In the winter we didn't get much water and had to use what we hauled in most of the time. Not enough humidity and the dewpoint simply didn't exist unless it snowed.
We began to also drain our gutter water into that well when it rained, We also dumped snow into it if there was enough to deal with, to help keep the water cold and the ground so that when warmer weather came, it was cool enough to condense the humidity. We later dug another well to take the overflow so we reduced our demand to haul water even more.

You've got a good idea here and every little bit helps when we work collectively to achieve things like this. No matter how big or small your savings create. When we moved into town, we dug a 4 ft by 30 ft well, when the cops tried to give us a ticket during a watering ban and we were watering the garden, we showed them the entire system and that it was not connected to the city water at all. No ticket resulted.
Hi extraordinary1, Would you be willing to do an instructable of your system? I'm considering offgridding and this system you described would certainly lighten my alternate water load. I would be grateful for anything you would share. Thank you in advance!
Yes I would be glad to make an instructable regarding this project. I am working with a couple of other guys helping me achieve my projects. This project is included in our plans. So, as we build another system, we will create a new instructable specifically for this, and much more. Even distill our water for consumption uses. Taking this project one step beyond what I have done before. Watch for it. Not exactly sure how long it will take to complete at this point, we're making plans right now to work collectively on several projects I have, that they are interested in.
That is fantastic! :) Please keep me up to date on your progress! Thank you ever so much!
Sandisk1duo5 years ago
lulz you need to scrub your bathtub!
jillg5 years ago
gray water to tilet water, genius, 5 stars!
higgrobot5 years ago
I wonder if anyone here has ever pooped on the shower floor and mashed it into a liquid with their foot?
leevonk (author)  higgrobot5 years ago
that's actually one way in which astronauts recycle their fluids
I cant view the video, but I already use wasted water to flush my toilet. I keep a large watercooler waterbottle next to my sink & shower/tub with a deep funnel on top. ANd use an old pitcher to fill it up with the water that would otherwise get wasted while I waited for the water to get hot. Note: the waterbottle has a handle on the side for easy pouring.
jeff-o5 years ago
Dude, you have a mold & mildew problem. You should probably fix that.
leevonk (author)  jeff-o5 years ago
I actually painted it black to make it look like mold and mildew, it's art
jeff-o leevonk5 years ago
Suuuuure you did. ;)