An Aussi shower is nothing like an American shower. In my previous life, I considered any shower less than 20 minutes a short shower. I figured it was my constitutional right to have long soaks, otherwise when was I supposed to get ‘me time’?
Coming to live in a desert was one of the biggest eye openers for me. Water restrictions are a way of life here, and every drop is managed with care. Wasters are regarded with the utmost disgust.
I have heard water called “a precious resource” all my life, but I’ve never experienced how valuable it truly is. Life on the underside of the world is different than life in the lower forty. The atmosphere sucks moisture up like an invisible sponge and puddles dry up in the sun within minutes. In some parts of Australia wasting water isn’t just stupid, it’s suicide.
Dish Swishing & Other Myths: The biggest shocker for me, and I know some of you will disagree with this, is that dishes don’t need the soap rinsed off to be clean. We have one sink, so my dish washing routine when I first got here was to fill the one basin with soapy hot water, drain, and refill with fresh to rinse. Worse, when I was in a hurry I’d just rinse them under a running tap.
I was quickly brought into line and converted from my rampant water wastage and taught to wash dishes in the soapy water, re-swish the dishes and then put the soapy dishes on the rack to dry. I was highly doubtful at first that this was even sanitary and was convinced that salmonella was imminent, but after three months no one has gotten ill, the dishes aren’t spotty and the Cleanliness Police haven’t issued me any citations for improper dish swishing. Not only do I save water, but time as well, often an equally precious resource.
Water saving goes beyond the kitchen sink, tho. Just about every gutter drain here ends in a collection barrel to use in the garden. Pure rainwater is saved and drank, and it’s delicious. I’ve learned that a little dust on the car isn’t life threatening, and the whole thing can be washed in as little as 2 cups of left over dishwater, whatever hasn’t gone out for the veggie garden already.
All in all, I’ve learned that water is as precious as life, and often, they are the same.
Tomorrow is the final installment of my Eco Confessions: The Last Word