Sunday, 11 April 2010

Water and luck.

Sometimes you get lucky.

It has been very dry here lately. Further north it is much worse but we average about 1500mm of rain a year normally, and January and February are our driest months. But it is now April and we've had a few showers over the last month but nothing much. Our pond is the lowest I have seen it since it was first dug (over 10 years ago). It is rain fed, not part of a stream. Our domestic water comes from a tank that is fed with water from our roof, just like all our neighbours. Our sheep use that water as well.

Our neighbours are buying water. A tanker truck delivers it and fills up their water tanks. But we are okay. Why? Because we got lucky.

Two reasons. First, we have a composting toilet which uses no water. Most households use 30% of their water flushing their toilet. We use 0%. We also have a front loading washing machine and that uses less then a top loading one. These were deliberate decisions, partly to conserve water but also because we liked the idea of using the output from the toilet as compost, and front loading washing machines give a better wash.

But where we really got lucky was in the house design. We had been looking at abbeys in southern France and that was what we wanted our house to look like. I certainly did not make the connection that these places are built for a dry climate. Their wide roofs are ideal for gathering water. So even a small shower delivers lots of water to our tank. I looked recently and the tank is still close enough to full, probably from the couple of showers we had a week ago.

I'd feel a lot more smug if I had planned this.

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