Sunshine Coast, B.C. Canada is finally living up to it's name - it has become a very sunshine-y coast, indeed. I never thought I'd be wishing for rain in August, but I am! Yesterday, for the first time since I've lived here (20-somethin'-years), the Sunshine Coast has entered into Stage 4 water restrictions, which is as "strict" as water restrictions get. This means no outdoor watering of any kind - including your garden!!! These stage 4 requirements definitely have me scratching my head.
Am I supposed to let my efforts and organic vegetables wither away and die, just to re-buy them at the grocery store?To be honest, I would rather cut out my showers for the summer and go jump in the lake every day then sacrifice my garden. What's also quite surprising is how unequipped our community seems to be. There appears to be no back up water reserve, and I don't know of a single person who has a professional rain water collection system... or a collection system of any kind. I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't been "harvesting" rain water either. It's clearly a case of, "we've all been taking the endless rainfall during the winter months for granted." One thing's for sure, though - this summer's consequences will be a huge eye-opener for our community. I know it has been for me, and I've already been talking to Paul, the "Rain Harvester," who sells rain water collection systems locally and across Canada, about installing an underground unit in the house that we're currently building. For now though, I also need to focus on the problem at hand, try my best to conserve water, and somehow, prevent my plants from passing away during this spontaneous drought. It's a lot more work, but I think, with these helpful tips, I can manage!
18 creative ways to conserve water during a drought
- Flush your toilet less. "If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down." A wise saying, as 30% of household water is flushed down the toilet.
- Strain the food that you cook in water into a bucket. The starchy water from pasta, potatoes, corn, etc. are good for your veggie patch.
- It takes a while for the shower to warm up, so use buckets to catch the cold water and use it for cooking or to water the garden.
- Put the plug in the tub when you shower and re-use the water that you collect for your garden.
- Simplify your garden. Pull out the plants that have run their course and are just sucking up valuable water from the ones that are still producing.
- Turn off the shower when your lathering up.
- Shower less! Or at least, cut down your shower time - I think we all linger in a hot shower a little longer then necessary.
- Do full loads of laundry instead of smaller ones, and only wash it if it's dirty (not just because it's been worn and it's easier to throw it in the laundry basket then hang it back up ... yes, I'm on to you!)
- Do your dishes by hand in a small sink of water instead of using the dishwasher.
- Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth. Or better yet, fill a single cup of water to get the job done - no running water required.
- Left over water in bottles or glasses can be used on plants.
- Use mulch, like straw or wood chips, to cover the soil around your veggies. This will help keep moisture from evaporating.
- Fix any dripping taps.
- Switch to an eco-friendly shower head.
- Place some large rocks in the back of your older toilet to take up the space of water. This way you're using less water each time you flush.
- Collect the water that drains from your washing machine to use on your vegetable garden. (This would be a good time to switch to a homemade laundry soap).
- Bath your toddler in a small tub outside instead of filling your large, indoor one. Trust me, they'll think it's fun, uses much less water, and is easy to dump on your garden after.
- Last but not least - collect rain water! During a rainfall, get as many empty buckets, totes and bowls outside as you can! Or even better, purchase a professional rainwater collection system, like these ones from Rain Farmers Canada.