When I appealed for water –saving ideas from our readers in the last magazine #152, I expected a torrent of great suggestions.
Actually, four people shared their water-saving ideas with our readers, and I thank them for taking the trouble to write. Some of the ideas are eminently copiable.
Esme and Daniel Nelkin place old-fashioned round dustbins in descending order of size at the joint between two parts of the roof and catch all the excess rain which is then used for watering the garden in dry spells. Like Tamar Oren, they collect the cold water from the shower before the hot water kicks in and use that for floor washing or houseplants.
Tamar's idea of washing the vegetables in a bowl rather than under running water yielded an unexpected bonus. While rinsing the chopping board used for cutting salad she noticed seeds of tomatoes and peppers running into the bowl and with this saved water she irrigated her patio plants. She was delighted to discover red peppers and even some tomatoes growing alongside her potted palm.
The Nelkins now cook their vegetables in a microwave with only a dash of water and if they cook on the gas they re-use the water for several vegetables and soups – which is good nutritional practice too. After Shabbat they wash up the dishes with water from the Shabbat urn.
Roma and Melvyn Brooks also recycle their Shabbat water in their sprawling and beautiful garden in Pardess Hanna. To reduce the amount of water used to flush the toilet they put a brick or used bottle of soft drink filled with water into the tank to reduce the total volume of water. This is an idea any one can copy. But probably less people would be willing to emulate another idea – collecting water under the kitchen sink by doing away with the plastic sump. This is used to flush the toilet too.
"You soon learn the technique of flushing without getting the surrounds of the toilet wet," they write reassuringly.
They also collect the water from two central air-conditioning units and gain an enormous amount of water this way, and they now wash up in bowls so the 'grey' water is also transferred to their trees.
David Chester writes a historical account of toilets in the Jewish state and even before statehood.
Apparently, at one time, there were no water tanks, only hand-valves so the user had a more direct control on the flow-rate and duration of the water used. According to David, some of these valves were difficult to open and close and water management was imperfect. The introduction of the tank was seen as an improvement but as we all know, even with the half-flush handle, the water control is non-existent.
He suggests fitting a balance weight in the tank, available from home stores, which helps to control the water flow according to how far down the handle is held. As he delicately puts it, "in more extreme situations, the full tank flush can be obtained."
He also includes instructions for a do-it-yourself balance weight as follows:
"The original 240 gram aluminium weight is of cylindrical shape about 60 mm. in diameter, 5 mm. thick and 80 mm. in length, with one end closed except for a small hole. The side of the cylinder has a slot so that it allows a gap for the lever that connects to the operating handle. When this handle is slightly depressed the action of flushing is changed, so that the system does not suddenly 'take over' the control of the water flow as normally happens. Instead, with the weight in place the flow now depends on the position to which the handle is held down and the duration".
He invites readers to visit him in Petach Tikva to see his ideas put into practice.
All those who wrote in say they have made considerable savings on their water bills. So copy some or all of these ideas and you will help your bank account and your country. What could be better?
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