Summer water reflections

We moved in to our new house with the goal of spending no more than $50 per month on water while growing 80% of our fruits and vegetables. Last summer (2014) we got close to getting 80% of the produce we eat from our yard, but each time a water bill came I was...

Reusing laundry water

This is Puleng, one of my former students in Lesotho. I learned to wash by hand from her and other students at Ngoana Jesu Secondary School, and I also learned from them to reuse my laundry water on my vegetable plots. I adopted that practice in Lesotho, and...

Rain is not sewage

Yesterday, we got an unusually strong storm for mid-May. My yard received 0.7 inches; but the San Diego Airport got 1.84 inches! For San Diego, that’s the wettest day in May ever, according to the National Weather Service. For the whole Southern California...

What to Do with 500 Gallons of Rainwater?

Looks like the rain’s over. April is around the corner, and if we get anything more it’s likely to be only showers. Still, I’m starting the dry season — the season of irrigation — with a full tank of 500 gallons of collected rain. Now the...

Collecting Rain from Roofs

I started caring about rain while I was living in Ts’oeneng, where everyone farmed without irrigation as well as got their drinking water from springs and wells. Rain provided food and drink in a very direct way. I also started collecting rain from roofs while...

Does It Pay to Conserve Water?

Though I have a distaste for the waste of water, which mostly comes from my time living in Lesotho, I’ve been wondering how much money I save when I’m careful with water use — here, at home, in Southern California. When I turn the kitchen faucet on...