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Apartment Homesteading - Conserving Water

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This would be the place to post random thoughts on conserving water from an Apartment/ Urban/City living standpoint.  That is not to say that some of the ideas might be usable for Country Homesteading just as well.  



If we are talking about conserving we might consider different ways to slow down the rate that water comes from the faucets.   You can buy inexpensive screw on gadgets that replace the small screw-on filters on the end of the faucet that restrict the flow of water, slowing the gallons per minute you get.  Likewise there are shower heads for that same purpose.  There are low water toilets but I wonder if it's possible to get low water flushing valves for inside the tank.  Does anyone know?   I do know that it's possible to use various objects inside the tank to lesson the amount of water that they store.  It takes a bit to figure out just how little water you can use to flush with though.  I've used bricks, large rocks, water filled water bottles, and even sealed jars with a stash of money, coins, and etc. in them for safe keeping.   (would thieves think to look there?) You could, of course, use the water from dishes or scrubbing to flush with.  Don't, however, pour dirty water into a tank.  Use it directly in the bowl to flush with.  



There are a lot of variables to using soapy water to water plants with. It all depends on the boron, salt, bleach, and etc that might be included in any given soap.  Original Dawn is considered safe to wash oil from animals and birds but they are also rinsed afterwards.  You can also use small amounts of dish soap mixed with water as an insecticide on plants but continuous watering with most soaps could put the soil in danger of excess salts and etc.  When I say 'safe' I think more of organic and plant based soaps and even those can be unsafe if overused.  My suggestion is that the dish, laundry, or bath water be used for scrubbing floors and flushing toilets if they contain soap or other products.  The clear rinse water would be better for plants as would the rinse water from growing sprouts.  Even the cooking water from vegetables could be used but you would have to watch for vegetable matter in the water that might mold around your plants. (I would much rather use that water as part of a soup when possible though so I don't lose the nutrients)  If you are trying to save water you might also consider catching the water you let run while waiting for the water to turn hot.  It could actually be used for drinking if needed or rinsing sprouts before using on plants. 



It might also be possible to catch rainwater even in an apartment depending on the situation.  I've seen pictures of plastic being attached by one side to a balcony rail and the rain water funneled into a container or directly into plants. I've also seen plants surrounded by a large 'collar' that funneled more water into plantings than would be normal with just rain. The ones I saw were either shiny or red to reflect certain light onto the plant as well.  Another option in a necessity situation might be rigging up a 'funnel' to hang outside a window and 'catching' rain water.  Of course, down spouts from gutters would be nice to use with a rain barrel but that's not always possible if you are renting. Remember to check out a flat roof for water possibilities.  

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