Tag Archives: gray water

from shower to flower

Earth Day is coming up on Wednesday. What environment-friendly changes will you be trying to make?

Last year we installed a tankless water heater, a move that has saved us at least 30% on our gas bill. But it still takes a while for the heated water to make it to the bathroom. In the past, we let the cold water in the pipes go down the drain until the water got to a proper shower temperature. recovered-water-bucketBut now the water is going into a bucket that we’ll use to water the garden. (A prettier–or at least cleaner–bucket not formerly used for pulling weeds and mixing potting soil is next on the agenda…)

The next logical step for water conservation would be to install a gray water system to reuse washwater. Regulations in California have been complex enough so that only 41 households have done it legally in San Diego County, and only 200 state-wide. State senator Alan Lowenthal from Long Beach has introduced a new bill, SB 1258, that would mandate a review of existing codes to make it easier to design and install legal gray water systems, a piece of legislation that is being called the “shower to flower” bill.

It’s a good start, and one worth supporting.

Related reading:
San Diego Union Tribue: New watering source is surfacing (March 23, 2009 article)
Los Angeles Times: A solution to California’s water shortage goes down the drain (April 19, 2009 opinion piece)
The text of SB 1258, marked up with comments and suggestions for further improvements by Oasis Design.