Brown Water is water that has been used, but doesn’t have any septic content or heavy cleaning chemicals included. Describing water as brown seems to be a bit of a misnomer, however “Brown Water” can be a good thing. As a child, living in the country meant nightly reminders to “Turn off the water, now!” when filling the bathtub. Because we relied on a well to service the household, dry conditions were a special source of concern for a family of seven.
Laundry day in summer months frequently meant that the rinse water from the washing machine was wisely saved and used to water the parched garden. A rain barrel collected roof run-off to supplement the garden’s needs. Indeed, modern covered rain barrels can be directly connected to a gutter’s downspout.
We can do some of those same things without additional equipment, pipes or money. Although brown water collection systems can be installed, simple planning and a few buckets can re-distribute many gallons of brown water. For example, set a bucket under the tap in the laundry room sink. Children can wash their hands there when coming in from playing outside. The bucket catches the water instead of letting it go down the drain. Save the water that comes out of the dehumidifier in the muggy months. Use it to scrub the floors, help to fill the next load of clothes to be washed, wash the car or water a few garden plants.
How many times have you poured the last few ounces of water out of a plastic bottle before tossing? Use that water to refresh household plants or fill the dog’s waterbowl. The water that is left in your pet’s bowl can be used first. Lastly, prevent as much water as possible from ever becoming brown in the first place. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth or shaving. Follow your dishwasher’s instructions. Thoroughly scrape plates, but refrain from essentially washing them before they are even put into the dishwasher. Wait ’til full before running. Wash full loads of clothing.
Being aware is different than being a vigilante. Just think first. Simple things can really add up.