|How I reduce my water use | Water rationing in the 70s
by Ken Roberts
Water became a critical issue on the Monterey Peninsula during 1976 and 1977.
During this period some households had only bits of sand coming out of their faucets
from time to time. We were rationed 15 gallons per person per day. Those that
ignored this restriction had their water line replaced with a eighth of an inch
line. About 45 minutes was required to fill a standard toilet tank. When the homeowner
complied with the rules, the water connection would be restored for a fee of $250.00.
It did not take much publicity to convince the general public to follow the rules.
Mrs. Williams of Pacific Grove, used to clean our home. Once she suggested emptying
the soapy water on our lawn instead of using the sink drain. When I expressed
some doubt as to how good it would be for the vegetation, she assured me it would
not only be all right, but it would improve the lawns appearance. Within
a week it was obvious she was correct.
Holmans Department Store in Pacific Grove sold me two small water pumps,
and I purchased two 33-gallon plastic tubs. When we did our laundry, the soapy
wash water would be dumped in one of them and the rinse water into the other one.
The soapy water would be pumped out of the tub into the washing machine. The old
rinse water would be pumped into the yard. When my wife Thelma would have a tub
bath upstairs, the water would be siphoned into the yard instead of going down
While we are no longer under any water rationing, my habit of water rationing
continues. When I use the clothes washer, the water is dumped into a 5-gallon
plastic bucket placed in the laundry tub. When the next wash is undertaken, the
collected water is poured into the washing machine before it is started, thus
saving 5 gallons of water with each load. I was spared having to do any laundry
for my granddaughter when she stayed with me last summer because it was her opinion
it was gross to use dirty water for washing clothes. To convince her
otherwise would have me using more water, so I never tried to change her mind.
When I wash pots and pans in the kitchen sink, I have a plastic container that
has the same shape as the sink. Using this container permits me to carry it to
the back porch located at the other end of the room where I pour the contents
into two 5-gallon plastic buckets. When they are full, I water the potted plants
on the sundeck.
My pear tree is on the side of a steep slope. Irrigating it was a problem until
I placed four rain gutters together to catch any water dripping from an overhead
gutter extending out from the upper sundeck. When potted plants are watered on
this deck, the excess liquid eventually hits the rain gutters that extend to the
trunk of the tree. With this arrangement, the pear tree will produce perfect fruit
each year without additional watering.
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