For the past two days, I’ve been actually calculating water usage, to see how far I have to go. I’m actually more frugal than I’d thought! I’ve only been calculating water I intentionally use (i.e., I know the toilet leaks, but I’m not going to try to measure it — we’re poking the landlord as much as we can to get him to repair it), and not calculating food/drinking water. If I start calculating what I drink into the total, this will eventually make me feel guilty about drinking water. This would be bad and unuseful. I drink as much as I need to, and put any used cooking water on the plants. So once I get to the point where I’m under 10 gal/day for everything else, I’ll figure out how much I drink for my Official Total Usage stats.
For the past two days, I’ve used between 8 and 15 gallons per day for normal stuff — mainly toilet, dishwashing, and me-washing. The toilet is really what adds up…flushing at work is only 1.6 gallons, but even with the juice bottle in the tank, I’m flushing almost five gallons at once at home. I do laundry about once every two weeks, and have no idea how much water it takes. Some days I use a lot more water to rinse veggies, though all food-related water gets put on the garden/yard, so I only have to worry about the transport to here.
I used much less water than usual to wash myself, as I experimented with a sponge bath today. In this heat, a hot shower was actively unappealing anyway. I couldnt’ have used more than 2 or 3 cups of water, and I feel really *clean*. I didn’t wash my hair, which would probably require at least a gallon to effectively rinse — I have longish, quite thick hair. But I think that at least for the rest of the summer, sponge baths will be the norm unless I’m sharing a shower. I’ll see how I feel about that in the winter.
So including estimated totals for things I can’t measure, I’m guessing that I’m somewhere between 15 and 25% of average American usage. That’s pretty happy.
Next time we see our landlord, I’ll ask him about installing a rain barrel. I don’t have high hopes. But Ben pointed out that there is, y’know, the whole Charles River not far from our apartment, so with a sufficiently good filter, we’ll have fresh drinking water for quite some time. I’d rather not have to depend on heavy-duty filters, but with any luck, by the time that becomes an issue, we’ll be in a house of our own where we’re allowed to put in a rain barrel/well/cistern/etc.