By now, we should all be aware that we need to reduce to 50 litres per person per day, or end up queueing for 25l at a Point of Distribution. For those wanting make sure they’ve covered all their bases, or are a little late in getting with the programme, we’re offering some unsolicited advice on what to focus on.
Step 2. The loo.
We’re assuming that you’re no longer watering lawns or flowerbeds or topping up your swimming pool with potable water. If you are, you need to stop RIGHT NOW. We are way beyond the point of even debating the ethics of doing that. Just stop. After lawns and pools (~35%), the next biggest culprit in most houses is the toilet (~30%).
You should not be flushing every time you pee any more. If the smell offends you, there are sprays you can get to minimise the odour (Wee Pong, Albex, Probac to name a few, or make your own using brown vinegar). The only time you should be flushing is for poo (#2’s). #2’s need to be flushed (preferably with grey water, but we’ll get to that). If you put toilet paper in the loo every time you do a #1, and you only flush for #2’s, your toilet is going to clog. Any paper that is used for #1’s should be placed in a small bin next to the loo, which has a lid that closes; this can be disposed of in the garbage, not down the loo. It’s a good idea to keep some medicinal charcoal in the house in case someone ends up with an upset stomach – lots of #2’s are going to deplete your grey water stocks fast.
Once you have your grey water system in place, turn off the stopcocks to the toilets – this reminds lazy people that they should only flush for #2.
If the situation gets very dire and there is no longer water to flush the loo, you may have to resort to the old bucket system. We’re not there yet, but it is worth considering your options and having a few 25l buckets with sealable lids on hand just in case. WWF have compiled a useful one-pager on sanitation during extreme water crises.
… tomorrow, we’ll tackle baths and showers… and grey water.