Water Experiment

In our area on the south coast of British Columbia we have been having unseasonably hot, dry weather. May was the driest on record and June’s 11 mm (.4″) rainfall was 80% below normal. This leaves me a little concerned about our well. It has never gone dry but I don’t recall this type of weather since we have lived here.

The other day I was at the sink and I thought I would do a little experiment. I tacked a pipe outside the kitchen window and put a 9 liter (2 gallon) bucket underneath. I placed a funnel on the top of the pipe and put a bowl in the sink. Instead of water going down the sink it now collects in the bowl which is poured into the funnel. I pour the collected water into our watering can and water around the garden.


It is amazing how much water accumulates in a day – just washing your hands, waiting for the water to turn hot, rinsing a cup, etc. I don’t keep the dirtiest water (it goes to a soapbox and feeds the trees) but even so I’m collecting close to 8-10 gallons a day and the garden is much happier for it.


Later in the year I have plans for rain water collection system and perhaps I can improve the project to incorporate gray water but for now we just need rain.


    • Yes, that is for sure. We lived here for 6 years without running water when we first built so we know what the inconvenience is like. that was almost 40 years ago now and it isn’t exactly a fond memory so hopefully the well will hold.

  1. I’ve always thought that grey water was truly wasted when going down the drain. About 20 years ago when we were doing some heavy remodel work, I asked about incorporating some sort of collection system and was given a look like I was crazy and then dismissed. Seems the times are bringing people around to thinking about conservation a bit more.

    • I think the main problem with grey water is the soap. Using a biodegradable soap without phosphates should be fine for the garden. Lots of waste water going down the drain and I think we in North America have to come realize what a luxury water is.

  2. I was having a hard time picturing it from the description so I’m glad you included the photo – I forgot that you might just open your window and reach out over the sink to dump the water into the funnel. Nice! Great work, but then you’ve had years of tinkering to hone your ability to solve problems like that one. We’re using more water than we should down here, certainly, and with the hot weather we’re drinking more, too. The water bill was up last month and will be up again this month. We only have a small deck for a garden with a few plants, but even that requires quite a lot of water these days. We’re keeping big jugs by the bathtub, and whenever we shower we collect the extra from warming the water. Obviously there’s so much more we could do but that’s enough for now, and I’m aware that the whole water set up is something to be thankful for. I hope your well holds – what an extreme season we’re having!

    • It will certainly be a good test for our well this year. I’m being very frugal with the watering and the garden in obviously showing the effects but we still have a lot of Summer ahead of us. Looking forward to putting a better system together for next Summer.

    • Yes we should. Mind you, BC has lots of rules and regulations when it comes to using grey water. Running water outside from your bathtub or washing machine is actually illegal ;-( Even running waste water from your sink into the back of the toilet has certain building code regulations. I think Seattle has been exploring the use of gray water more and it is something you see more there. If we continue to get Summers like this one I think BC is going to have to examine the possibilities.

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