Water Water Everywhere And Not a Drop To Drink

family photoshoot (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

The place was a swamp. When I went outside, the ground would give under my feet like a sponge. There were pools and puddles and what might kindly be termed ‘a tiny lagoon’ in places. The ducks were in heaven. The Little Paddler picks her routes to toddle via puddles. She stops to splash in all of them. Occasionally, she’ll squat down to slap her hands in the water and Mr. Fairweather found her sitting down in a big puddle one day with the biggest smile on her face. Thrilled beyond belief with herself. Thank God for waterproof trousers and wellies!

the offending pump (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

But all this water hasn’t brought smiles to all of us. The wastewater treatment system has been acting up. Acting up is a mild term. It turns out the pump that pumps the sump water out onto the percolation area has blown. And it keeps tripping the switch for the whole wastewater treatment system. Which then slowly backs up until suddenly, the toilet won’t flush. So just before Christmas, we got the tank emptied and thought we had it all working again. Less than a week later the tank and overflow sump were full again! We emptied it again. The lads stood looking into the sump as the ground water seeped back in. Disaster. We eventually sourced a temporary pump until the repairman was back working after the holidays. We have been carting emergency nappy loads to granny’s house and on water lock down so as not to add anything to the load going in to the tank. Every drop counts.

It has been a huge pain in the butt but has made me really think. About how much water I waste. How much water I could be saving. How much water I could be reusing. So I am going to make a few little steps that I have started a bit more permanent I think. They sound tiny and maybe you do them already but they are new to me.

  1. New loo rules: If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.

    a small river has formed - no fish spotted in it as yet (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
    a small river has formed – no fish spotted in it as yet
    (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
  2. I am amazed in the mornings at how much toilet paper collects in the bottom of the toilet bowl. It doesn’t help the septic tank adding to all that has to be broken down. So, brace yourself, I am going to take baby steps and start using family cloth. For wees only. I mean, I already wash cloth nappies so is it really that big a deal? I am not going to expect visitors to use it. But I am going to try.
  3. Leftover tea and bits of water in the bottom of drinking glasses are collected and poured on the houseplants crammed onto my windowsills.
  4. It turns out that I can cram an awful lot more into the dishwasher than I have been doing. Dishwashers are much more efficient at water usage if they are filled before switching on.
  5. I need a plastic basin in my sink. I can wash pots and rinse off dishes before loading the dishwasher and then empty the basin outside on my pots. (The ones the hens have left intact – they are ruthless!) Even if the potted plants don’t need watering, I reckon that the water in the basin will still be less down the sink than if I had been running the tap.

I reckon that’s loads to start off with but if you have any other suggestions or ideas, please tell me.

The pump is fixed and everything rewired so if things go wrong, we’ll get more notice next time. And we are signing up finally for a maintenance contract. The relief of being able to do the washing in your own house now is just amazing. It really is the simple things in life.

the big kids can go splashing in puddles too (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
the big kids can go splashing in puddles too
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

4 thoughts on “Water Water Everywhere And Not a Drop To Drink

  1. I’m struggling with your first point. This is odd, because it WAS a night-time rule when I was growing up. Not for water conservation but keeping down the noise if someone had to get up to pee. It’s not so bad in your own home, but we used to share a communal loo with several work places in our area and there was this one person who’d always let it mellow.

    I DO try to keep toilet paper use to a minimum, but I’m not sure I’d be diligent enough to attempt your second point!

    We have a hot water cylinder and when you want hot water it take a few moments for the hot water to come through. I usually collect the ‘waiting’ water and put it on the garden.

    Good luck 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. I know it’s a funny old topic. I used to always flush. Every time. Growing up in a hot country you wouldn’t let it sit in the house. But here it’s much cooler so smell is less of an issue and I put a bit of lavender oil or something into the cistern. Mr. Fairweather’s family followed rule 1 for noise as well. Rule 2. Well look. We’ll just see how it goes. Levels of grossness change with a toddler. 😂😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know what you mean. We are not on mains drainage – we have a couple of cess pits and a weeper system that is about 60 years old, but has been added to in an ad hoc manner over the decades. Did I mention we also have a campsite so we have a lot of sewage to get rid of in the summer. When I was younger (a child) I thought the front garden of everyone’s grandparent’s house overflowed with poo on a regular basis – apparently not. In the time we have been here, the weeper system catastrophically collapsed as did the squished pipes – we spent one summer rodding the drains every day. On the upside I don’t get phased by other people’s poo anymore. Oh and I also love the poo man who comes and empties our tanks – he has saved the campsite from poo explosions on more than one occasion!


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