by Roger Smith
(New York, USA)
This scene is familiar to anyone who has witnessed a particularly oppressive stiflingly hot summer!.
The soil cracks in a thousand places, looking like the skin of a very dry lizard. Plants wither slowly, as they go from green, to yellow, to brown, from lack of water.
The air seems to be smoky or watery, and heat seems to rise from the ground in snaking, slithering currents. Everyone seems to be in a foul mood, no matter how bright their day is, and how much progress they have made at school or work.
A drought-stricken area is a poor one, but it isn’t a hopeless one. Even with very little water, you can deal with the scarcity and still emerge triumphant, with a wallet filled with enough money to pay the rest of your bills. Even with very little water, a cooperative community can pull through a drought and enjoy the rains when they come.
If you live in a drought-stricken area, you will need to conserve water using every method of water conservation that there is. Here are a few tips that you might want to follow as you work on keeping what water you have.
Instead of soaking in a tub, or using a pail and dipper to take a bath, take a brief shower. Soaking in a tub will only force you to fill up a tub with gallons of water that you might not end up using.
A shower, on the other hand, can force you to regulate the use of water. Confine your shower to no more than a few minutes. Turn off the shower while you shampoo, or while you soap your body. To save more water, wet your entire body, turn off the shower, then apply your shampoo and start soaping yourself. Rinse your entire body all at once.
To save even more water, have a bucket standing by as you shower. Collect your shower water in the bucket, and use it to flush your toilet. By relying on your toilet’s flushing machinery, you also use a total of five gallons of water each time you flush! Save this water for more useful purposes, such as washing the dishes and your body. You can use your bath water to flush your toilet, and a bucket will usually be enough.
An old wives tale of water conservation revolves around the use of soapy, collected water to water plants. Although this may seem like a good water conservation mechanism, you also need to remember that the detergents in soap can damage plants and destroy nutrients in the soil.
Instead of recycling water to water plants, control the amount of water you use to water your garden. Instead of using a hose or a sprinkler, take a small bucket of water with you and water plants with moderation. If you use too much water, you can kill plants by weakening their roots and stems.
Your health comes first, so analyze each move that you make before conserving water. When rinsing dishes, don’t soak them in a basin of water along with the rest of the things that you need to rinse. This unclean practice can lead to bacteria and fungi accumulating in your utensils.
Don’t reuse bath water for any other purpose, except to flush your toilet. The dirt, dust, and grime from your body can do more damage to your plants if you water them with your bath water. And whatever you do, don’t conserve your drinking water! You need at least eight glasses of water a day to function properly; in fact, your body can go longer without food than it can without water! If you are in a drought-stricken area, you are more prone to dehydration, so scrimp on everything except drinking water.
If you don’t finish the water in your glass, don’t throw it down the drain. Put the water into a bucket, where it can be used to flush your toilet later. If the drinking water you have left is relatively clean, you can use it to water your plants. Don’t give your half-consumed glass of water to your pet: your mouth can house certain bacteria and viruses that can be deadly to your pet, or can cause them to have certain diseases.
Save on washing water by using paper plates that you can throw away after their first use. If you find paper plates expensive, you can also use paper plate safe wax covers, which are cheaper, and which can be discarded after every use, leaving the paper plate clean. You can also use cheap paper cups: they not only allow you to save money, but they are recyclable too!