It’s sad and scary that so much of this finite, precious resource is wasted or polluted. Each person uses on average 200 litres of water per day. 70 litres of that is polluted with human waste and immediately unusable. As water from our stream is so scarce during the summer months, these figures really focused our minds.
After lots of research (including sticking our noses down loos!), we decided that composting toilets and waterless urinals were the only way to go. They also meant that all the waste water from our handbasins, showers and washing up sinks (greywater) could be re-used to irrigate our flower and vegetable gardens. Our ingenious greywater system captures and filters all our waste water and redirects it to our organic gardens. Saving water is our thing!
For us these are very practical solutions. We have been able to design our facility around the compost loos (these can’t be easily retro-fitted). We are using existing terrace drops to create large compost chambers under our dry toilets. The cost of the compost loos is less than a chemical solution or septic tank. The DIY greywater system is very inexpensive and we have the right conditions – enough land and a decent drop for gravity to take the water down. But EVERYONE can do their bit in conserving water. The simplest way is to reduce the amount of water you use – fix leaks; don’t leave the tap running etc – and then reuse & recycle whatever you can.
We use ‘green power’ – energy from the sun that is constantly and naturally ‘renewed’. Our solar PV (photovoltaic) system generates electricity to ensure our compost toilets are efficient and odorless. It powers USB charge points for mobile phones, laptops & cameras. The excess power is used to charge batteries, which run our 12V LED lighting systems and music systems in the evening. We minimise the use of electrical appliances – no toasters or hairdryers & kettles are heated on a gas stove. Occasionally we run our small generator to operate power tools. A solar thermal syphon system provides up to 400 litres of hot water at over 70 degrees C. It’s so efficient we had to fit a cold water mixing valve to ensure you couldn’t be scalded in our showers.