Ongoing Drought Causes Many In The U.S. To Rethink Water Resources


he ongoing drought throughout many parts of the U.S. has many people rethinking how to use some of their water resources, & for good reason.  Roughly 61% of the contiguous United States is now officially in drought, according to the July 10 release of the Drought Monitor from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Drought Mitigation Center.  Conditions continue to deteriorate across the nation’s heartland, with drought expanding into the Great Lakes, and becoming “exceptional” in parts of Arkansas and the Lower Ohio Valley.  Sure, we can turn on a sprinkler or grab a hose, but with it being SOOO dry who wants the big bill at the end of the month?  At this time of year many people’s main priorities are small developing trees, flowers, & of course that beautiful garden you’ve worked so hard on.  But what if your community municipality decides they need to free up water sources?  Many will evoke a water restriction on homeowners.  The first and most common form of water restriction is to landscape irrigation, which on average makes up 32% of residential water use.  So how do we combat the drought & keep our plants happy without breaking the bank or breaking the law?


A Great Drought Resource


One idea I think can be a real money saver as well as a defense against drought is to implement a water supply system or “Grey Water” system for your home.  What is a Grey Water system?  Grey water is waste water generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dish washing, and bathing, which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation.  This provides a second use of water you are already using, allowing you to irrigate year-round, while dramatically reducing your household water consumption.  Most people find plenty of water for their needs just from their washing machine &  set up very simple systems from simple PVC pipe,  a couple valves and sometimes a pump.  Other more elaborate designs like this one below incorporate a whole home approach.

Drought Water Resources

As you can see this advanced system includes many different sources to pull from


Now before you run out to the hardware store to start your DIY project, there are a few key factors you must understand.


  • You Can’t Use Bleach – washing water containing chlorine bleach will kill all your plants, trees & garden.  I would not recommend using water from non bleach loads either as any residue will be detrimental and will pollutant ground water etc.  Replace bleach with something better & safer or you can forget this whole idea.
  • Your Laundry Products Must Be Non Toxic & Biodegradable – Remember this water will be soaking into plants and possibly food you eat so get something of quality.  With marketing these days the “Biodegradable” part can be misleading, so find a trusted source.
  • Check The Label For Phosphates – Phosphates are a  major contributor to the pollution of lakes and waterways & are also what causes your washing machine to get gummed up and stink.  You don’t want this on your plants.


So depending on which way you look at it, this can either be a really easy thing to implement (ie: you use natural, non-toxic, biodegradable laundry products….or are wanting to make the switch) or hard if you cant imagine leaving your bleach and tide.

Now go put some of that water to double duty & save some money.

Ps – Let us know if you already employ a grey water or other water resources system and have any tips for people on how to beat the drought!




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