Shower Water Reclamation (Save With Buckets)
Shower Water Reclamation
It’s been a while since I had a new environmental project or wrote anything, so this is a small idea I got into my head a little while back. I truly love my showers. It is relaxing, and for a short while, all the cares of the world wash off my back. Unfortunately, so does an awful lot of water. It is time for some Shower Water Reclamation!
Now, I know … there are showers out there that recycle and purify the water so it is not lost down the drain. Take a look at this beauty … Hamwells e-Shower. If I had one of these, I would never get out, and no one would ever hear from me again. Sadly, these systems are not available to your average showering dreamer. I started thinking how I could, at least, grab and reuse some of the Shower Water on a meagre budget.
I bought two recycled plastic 9 litre buckets, and stuck ’em in my shower! I kid you not. It might not be fashionable, and they only retain 18 odd litres of water, but at least I am doing something. They only cost around eleven rand each, and they do the job rather well.
These buckets are made from that slightly rubbery type of recycled plastic, which makes them flexible. You don’t want to buy any shiny new, brittle plastics for the shower. You could trip over, and injure yourself when they shatter. I first tested with an old broad basin, and while it catches more water, it’s a nuisance because it gets in the way of the ablutions.
My shower is fairly large, but I find it is better to have two tall buckets than the broad single basin. Other good reasons for this sort of bucket are that it not only has a handle for easy moving, but it’s far less likely to slosh and spill on your bathroom floor. Splitting the weight is easier on your back too.
I position the two buckets under the direct flow of the shower head, and turn on the water flow. Copious amounts of water are wasted in winter, just waiting for the warm water to arrive. I probably capture about one full bucket of water before I even get into the shower. That is spread out between the two obviously. Depending on where they are placed, they are full when I am finished.
Depending on what you will use the water for, you may want to avoid getting too much soap in the buckets. Mostly, I use them to flush the loo twice during the day. Tossing it down the toilet, a little bit of soap is probably a good thing. I find it is quicker and less fuss than dragging them out into the garden to water plants. A tip for avoiding splashing the water out of the toilet, and ensuring good suction down the bowl, is to pour the water to the side of the bowl from the opposite side.
Should the Shower Water be required for the garden or pot plants, you definitely want to avoid getting soap in the buckets. Depending on the size of your shower, just move the buckets to the furthest corners while you soap up and rinse. Once done, stick them behind your back to capture the relatively clean water flowing off your shoulders.
If you live in a humid climate — and it is now the rainy season here in Cape Town — you might consider buying two sets of buckets to let one air on alternate days to reduce mildew build up. If your shower is quite small, it’s probably best to stick with a solitary bucket for safety reasons. It doesn’t help the environment if you slip and break two or three limbs!
Water is a precious resource, and I’m pleased to be reclaiming 18 odd litres of water per shower. For me, that is the equivalent of two toilet flushes of clean water per day. Start your bucket list today and reduce your water consumption.
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