Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Save Water!

One of the biggest lifestyle changes since moving to Australia has been the way we use water in our day to day lives. While living in HK, we never thought about conserving water. We always felt the sting of the electricity bill, but the water bill was always an insignificant amount compared to anything else. The only worry we ever had about the water in HK was whether it was safe enough to drink. Here in Australia, it just might be whether there's going to be enough to drink one day.

Parts of Australia has had the lowest amount of rainfall recorded since 1900. And rainfall just this past October has been lower than October of last year. With all these rain shortages, for the first time in my life I finally see just how much we relay on rain for our drinking water.

Grandma has a rainfall gauge in the backyard to measure the rainfall whenever it rains. They've got huge water tanks as well to catch as much rain water as they can. Alot of the water we use around the house, especially for watering the plants is from the water tanks. They also have a bucket in the shower to catch the cold water that comes out while waiting for the hot water. We do the same thing at the kitchen sink when waiting for the hot water to come out before doing the dishes. We've had to install a water tank next to our house too when going over the plans. It seems like no houses are built without a water tank next to it to catch the rain. And at the moment we're still figuring out where to get the water to fill up our pool when it gets done.

In the pink chart above, you see the water restriction procedures everyone has to follow in terms of water usage. You can't just water your plants whenever you feel like it, no one is allowed to wash their cars with a hose and you can forget about filling up a small pool in your backyard if its not from your rainwater tank. People actually get reported to the "authorities" if their neighbors see them watering their plants when its not their alloted schedule and especially if you wash your car with your hose. I think they have something like the water police who'll then come knocking at your door and checking your water meter to see if you've been using more than the alloted amount you can use depending on the number of people you've registered living in our home.

So with all these water restrictions, I've had to change the way I bathe the kids. Instead of leaving the tap on to wash, I make sure I use exactly how much I need and never leave the water running without reason. And even though I hate stepping out of the hot shower, I now turn the water off the moment I'm done. No more luxuriating under the hot pouring water like I used to do during cold months in HK. And when I tell Boy Wonder not to waste water because it hasn't been raining, its actually true!

Although it sucks that there's all this drought going on, at least Boy Wonder is learning the importance of conservation. Whenever he washes his hands now he tells me to make sure I turn the tap off because it hasn't been raining. And even though Nachos hates it, I only give her one fill of her watering can when she wants to do some gardening. And the whole water conservation thing just makes you more aware of the other resources we usually take for granted. So although there is this abundance of space now for the kids to run around in, being water conscious keeps us grounded and remind us not to take anything for granted.

1 comment:

christao17 said...

I can relate! Here in Thailand, we don't worry that much about water conservation although we probably should. But growing up in California, with our regular droughts, I learned all of those techniques.

Especially the bucket in the shower - that was a big fixture of my childhood. Tawn would never understand when, for the first few years we were together, I'd nag him about having the sink running at full blast, not turning it off while washing dishes, etc.

I should have him read this entry! =)