If you are like us, you might be on your own rain water supply. We have two massive concrete water tanks, I had the benefit of growing up with 2 large tanks and I understand how a huge amount of storage is so important to surviving a drought.
Many of the other new houses around us are built by townies that only put in one large ( plastic! ewww!) tank and this last summer it was a daily sight to see the town water tanker coming out to deliver some water to these poor people.
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Water isn’t cheap to buy, but it is free to collect from the sky!
Sensible water conservation combined with large water storage capacity is probably how we have managed to avoid paying for water despite there being very little rain last Summer.
Uses of water in farming
Water is used for so many things on a homestead that a normal urban property wouldn’t think twice about.
Our plants and crops all need water, but you can’t just leave the hose running while you are at work!
This is why I set up our grey water system from the washing machine – with 3 (nearly 4) kids, we do a lot of washing!
When we butcher any animal, the carcass needs a good wash down to get the fluff and guff off and then there is the hosing down of the concrete pad.
Obviously, if you keep any animals, they will also need to drink water, which unless you have a separate system set up, will come from your drinking supply.
Why is there a need to conserve water?
Out in the country, what the sky gives you is all you get. Store it well when it rains, and use it sparingly at all times to ensure your tanks are always as full as they can be.
There were times in the winter that our tanks were overflowing, and I realised we could actually have 3 (!) tanks, but we don’t really have the space for it.
30+ Ways to Save Water on the Homestead
Saving water in the kitchen
Hand wash dishes in a tub.
Use a high efficiency dishwasher. Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand, and only run it when it is full.
Put buckets in the sink and use the water to flush the toilet.
Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge – this saves running the tap until it is chilled. It is also a lifesaver if the power goes out and the pump stops working (ask me how I know!)
Heat water on the stove instead of running it to heat.
Rather than running water from the tap, wash your produce in a pan of water. Then you can use the leftover water on your garden.
Give everyone just one plate or cup to use during the day. Less dishes reduces the amount of water that needs to be used.
Dishes don’t always need a full wash to be reused in the same day, just brush off the crumbs!
Trying to clean dishes under running water is a waste.
Soak food encrusted dishes them right after use for easy and waste-free cleanup.
Don’t use the the garbage disposal if you don’t have to. Instead, compost food waste and use it in the garden.
Drain pasta or vegetable water into a large pot. Once it cools, you can use it to water your plants.
Saving water in the laundry
With laundry, skip the extra rinse cycle unless the load really needs it. If it does, try to group all the dirtiest things together into the same load.
When using the washing machine, make sure you’re only running full loads.
Hook up your washing machine to drain to your lawn or fruit trees.
Hang clothes to drip dry over the garden.
Put a bucket in the tub and fill it while you wait for the water to heat. Use it to water the garden.
Saving water in the bathroom
Take shorter showers. Try a military shower! Shut the water off while you soap up — you’ll save about two-thirds the amount of water you normally use.
Bathe smaller kids together.
Shower every other day and wash your hair less often. (It’s better for your hair and skin anyway)
Use a composting toilet.
Place a bucket in the shower or tub to catch water as you wait for it to heat up.
Plug the bathtub before turning on water for your bath. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
Shower rather than bathing – a short shower with a water-saving head uses far less water.
Turn the water off while you soap up your hands, brush your teeth, or shave. Turn it back on to rinse.
Use your towels more than once before washing them.
Saving water in the garden
Install drip irrigation or use ollas in the garden.
Harvest rainwater for your animals – we collect it off the top of our massive chicken shed.
Let your lawn go brown in the summer. Aerate your lawn with holes spaced every six inches. This will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface when it does rain, or you water it.
Replace your lawn with a garden
Cut your grass taller – The taller grass will shade roots and hold soil moisture better than short grass.
Leave the lawn clippings on your grass as mulch. This cools the ground and holds in moisture.
Water any dry spots in your garden or lawn by hand instead of running the sprinkler system.