Using Gray Water in Your Garden- Water Reuse
Water is precious because life could not exist without it. Everything needs water to survive and yet, we are polluting and destroying our own life force.
Reusing gray water is one way we can help preserve this limited resource. Continue reading to find out how we’re using gray water garden and saving both the earth and our water bill.
What is Gray Water?
Gray water (also referred to as greywater) is water generated from: showers, baths, laundry, dishwashers, sinks, and the like, which can be recycled and reused. It is not to be confused with black water/blackwater which contains waste.
Why Should You Be Using Gray Water?
Well there are many, many, reasons why gray water recycling is important. Conservation is the number one reason.
If you watch the news or pick up a paper you can see water is an issue all across the country. From droughts to contamination, every state and every nation, we are all facing water crisis.
My family lives out in California where they have a ban on how much water they use and will be heavily fined if they go over that limit because their city is running out of water. Where we live, there isn’t a fresh water shortage, yet; but why wait?
The wait and see mindset of this country will be its demise as well. We should all work together to prevent issues from happening instead of trying to fix them once they do.
How Much Water is Wasted in The Bathrooms?
Did you know the average person uses 36 gallons of water per bath and 2 gallons per minute for a shower? It’s actually 5 gallons per minute if you have an older shower head, which a lot of us still have.
Flushing the toilet uses 3 gallons of potable drinking water per flush. Can anyone explain to me why we use clean drinking water to flush our waste?
If you do a quick math assessment of our home: (3) 15 min showers per day and (2) baths per day times x (6) days per week – that’s a whopping 1,512 gallons of water per week!!!!!
Now wrap your head around how many people live in your town or city and where they get their water from and try doing the math, oy vey the water waste.
Water Usage in the Garden
Okay, now let’s factor in gardening. If you live in an urban area, or even a rural one, chances are everyone has some form of landscaping that they maintain with a sprinkler system.
The average garden/yard needs 1″ of water at 60° per week, add an additional 1/2″ of water per week for every 10° increase.
So if it’s 90° outside your garden will need 2 1/2″ of water per week.
An inch of water is about 60 gallons per 100 square feet. In our small yard it would take 7,548 gallons of water per week to water every inch of our property. Of course we don’t need to water every inch of our property (our house eats most of our square footage), but we do have several small vegetable gardens that need water.
With just (2) baths you could water, a 100 sq ft garden with 1″ of water using gray water irrigation. Are you seeing the benefits of using gray water yet?
The Best Way for Using Gray Water is in Your Garden or Yard
We have set up french drains from our gray water source in our home to go directly in our garden beds.
Meaning we connected the tub drain to our outside irrigation system so it drains right into the soil keeping our gardens well watered.
Even though we live in a hot climate in the south, we never use a sprinkler or city water to keep our plants alive in the summer.
When you use gray water in the garden, the soil filters out the minor contaminants. The water seeps through layers of sand and much of the pollutants are caught in the dirt. The microorganisms in the dirt also help filter the water before the plants absorb it.
Things to Consider Before Using Gray Water for Irrigation
- Does your city allow gray water recycling?
Many areas in the United States (and other parts of the world), have laws against using gray water or even collecting rainwater so check with your local laws first.
- What do you put down your drain?
What you put in my water is as equally important to me as saving water. For that reason use only biodegradable non-toxic products.
- Do you or someone in your home have handyman skills?
Basic plumbing skills are recommended if you want to divert your gray water.
- If you are not handy you can still recycle gray water simply by using a bucket to transport your gray water.
Using Gray Water Safety
- Don’t store gray water. Gray water can quickly become black water if not used right away
- Use gravity to feed your gray water into your gardens or landscape. Pooling water invites mosquitoes and bacteria.
- Don’t over water your garden. There is too much of a good thing. Only give your plants the required amount of water.
- Make sure your gray water is free from harmful chemicals
- Minimize contact. Gray water can contain pathogens so only reuse gray water in irrigation applications.
For Tips on Making Eco-Friendly and Non-Toxic Cleaners, check out the recipes on my Herbal Cleaners Page