Contrary to popular wisdom (even mentioned on our site a while back), collecting excess shower water in a bucket to use on your flowers will probably make the water shortage worse in the long run, not better.
Before I get into the reasons, there are a few points that must be made:
- If you have a septic system, this doesn’t apply. This only counts if you are connected to the sewer system.
- If you feel the need to water your plants at the expense of the overall water storage, this doesn’t apply.
For the rest of us that use the city sewer systems and are willing to let some plants die to help the greater good, take the bucket out of your shower — the more water you can put into your drain, the better.
Obviously, the best thing you can do is to use less water. However, of the water that you use you want to send as much as possible back down the drain. That water gets treated and released back into the Chattahoochee River (or other water system, depending where you live).
“So what?”, you say — that water is gone, it’s heading south, and doesn’t help us. Ahh, but it does. The bulk of the water being released from Lake Lanier is not for Atlanta to use, but to meet a minimum flow requirement down at Jim Woodruff Dam in Florida (currently 4,750 CFS, I believe). The water that goes down your drain eventually makes it to Woodruff Dam. The more water they get down there, the less we need to release from Lake Lanier. Voilà!
Here are a few more examples of how this could apply to you:
- We have a dehumidifier in our basement that collects a good bit of water during the summer. We had been using it to water some flowers in our yard. However, our best bet is probably to empty the basin into a drain in our house. The more water we put in there, the more they can keep in Lanier. We like our flowers, but I’d rather use that water to keep a few gallons more in the lake.
- A user e-mailed me to ask if anything can be done with the hundreds of gallons of water that have collected on pool covers. I told him to put it into the sewer. That water will reach Woodruff Dam, and Lanier will be able to keep a bit in reserve as a result.
Again, your best move is to use less water. It wouldn’t make sense to pull extra water out of the tap only to have it go down the drain — it’d be a waste of time and money, and some of the water will still be lost (evaporation, leaks, etc). However, the more water you can put back into the drain (as opposed to putting on flowers, grass, etc), the better off we’ll be.
Agree? Disagree? Post in the comments.