Engineering bathwater re-use

Waterwise: how Triangle residents are saving water

October 22, 2007 

  • Last week's showers helped, but it's going to take a lot more to refill the Triangle's depleted reservoirs. Here's how much water levels were below full as of Friday:

    Falls Lake -21.9 feet

    Jordan Lake-29.7 feet

    Lake Mitchie-14.6 feet

    Little River-19.4 feet

    Cane Creek-9.9 feet

    University Lake-7.7 feet

    (U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS; OWASA; CITY OF DURHAM)

  • Share your ideas with our readers. We'll give a prize -- a rain barrel -- to the person with the best water-saving strategy. Post your ideas on share.triangle.com or send them to editor Richard Stradling at richard.stradling @newsobserver.com or at 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh, NC 27601.

Several readers have told us of how they catch water from their showers to use on their plants or in their toilets. Nellie and Jimmy Hocutt, who live just outside Raleigh, have devised a way to make it easy.

Jimmy Hocutt removed the pipe that usually sent bathwater into the couple's septic tank and diverted it into a 50-gallon plastic container that he had bought at Wal-Mart and buried in the ground.

"With the two of us taking daily showers, we are able to catch 30 gallons a day, giving us an ample supply of recycled water to give all our shrubs, azaleas and our outdoor plants water every single day," Nellie Hocutt wrote via e-mail. "Also, I keep a bucket in my kitchen and recycle all the casual water I use daily, washing vegetables and dishes. Some days, I collect as much as 15 gallons a day.

"So, needless to say, we have very happy plants."

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