Digging for Information on Water

We keep the water dish full for the dogs, but try to conserve in other areas


The winner of the book, “The Organized Kitchen,” by Brette Sember is (drum roll….) Theresa! Please email me at fivecoat@ozarkmountains.com with your snail mail address. We’ll have more fun at our virtual organizing party this Thursday! Please check out Brette’s fabulous blog Putting it all on the Table.


As our extreme drought here enters the 4th month, Dale and I began wondering about the health of our well.

We didn’t have any indications it might be running low, but we wondered what would happen if we continued on this no rain path.

We had been used to conserving water when we first moved to Our Little House. Before we had our well dug, we had a large holding tank and had to have water trucked in.

While it wasn’t optimal, even when we just used Our Little House for weekends and holidays, it was what we could afford when we built.

After we moved here in 2007, we had the well dug and the company had to go much deeper than anyone anticipated.

Would it hold during an extreme drought?

I did some digging of my own and chances are that it will. The well is new enough and deep enough that it should be good for awhile anyway. I wish we had hooked up a gray water system, but we didn’t.

We did start re-employing our water conservation measures however, which include:

  • Running just enough water to wash and then rinse all of the dishes, without continuously running the water or turning the faucet back on for every rinse by placing just enough water into two tubs.
  • Shortening showers.
  • Running water only when rinsing off hands or rinsing during brushing, instead of letting it run continuously.
  • Using the “if it’s yellow….” flushing philosophy.
  • Limiting soaking of plants.
  • Only running full loads of clothes.

In the meantime, we have gotten some significant rains this past week. Not enough, but we’ll take what we can get and hope that we don’t see our faucets start sputtering air or milky looking water (signs that the well is going dry).

Most of the United States is in some degree of drought right now. Whether you have a well or not, water supplies are a major concern in many areas. Have you thought about conserving water?




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10 Responses

  1. Theresa says:

    Last year, I had several neighbors who had wells that went dry. That scared me, and I started conserving. I used kitchen gray water for watering plants, and tried to conserve in other ways. This year we have had a bit more rain, though still not enough. But, in my next remodeling, I’ll look at conserving toilets, and other ways to increase efficiency.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for your comment, Theresa. I just realized I can use my dish’s rinse water to water the plants. See how comments from others can make us think in a whole new way? 🙂

  2. Kim says:

    Our downstairs bath have a sink on the back of our toilet that pre-uses the flushing water to wash hands.


    (That’s hard to describe. You flush, and the faucet starts to run, so you wash your hands in that water before it drains down to fill the now-empty toilet basin.)

    Problem is, it’s an overly expensive little gadget– about $100 for a little piece of plastic with a few tubes and a faucet on top. It kept people from washing bathroom hands in my kitchen sink (old house issues), so it was worth it, but I’m not sure I’d have invested in it otherwise.

    It’s a great way to confound visitors, though. 🙂

  3. We have an old well on our property, but haven’t had someone out to inspect it and tell us what needs to be done to get it operational. At the very least it needs a new pump. The drought here in Missouri is awful. I am already looking for hay for the winter and I’m worried about what I’m going (or not going) to find. You are lucky that you’ve had at least some rain. It’s been dry here for at least two solid months, and what we had before that were just brief little rain showers.

    Cathy- your post makes me feel better about my lousy tomato crop- I just didn’t pee on them enough!! 🙂

    • Kerri says:

      I wonder how old the well is and what it would need, Kathleen? It might be worth checking out. It could be an emergency water supply for you if something went wrong with the “city” water line.

  4. Cathy Geary says:

    Hmm, I grew up on a dug well. Hehe, you have not yet begun to scratch the surface of saving water. We kept a washpan that was changed about twice a day for handwashing. We took a lot of sponge baths, which DO get you clean, that’s what they use mostly in hospitals. You can take a bath and shampoo and rinse hair in a gallon of water if you have shorter hair. Long hair takes a gallon and a half. If I lived in a long term drought area, I would cut my hair. If you will avoid fabric softener, you can even dip the rinse water out of your automatic washer to water plants that are not edible, hoping you don’t use harsh detergents in the wash. Also, if you have a garden, realize that urine is very good for some plants, especially, for some reason, male urine. So, urinating in a bucket or bottle and using it on tomatoes, etc, helps conserve in two ways.

    • Kerri says:

      Hahahaha, Cathy. You’re absolutely right. We have nothing on you when it comes to water conservation. Thanks for the tips!

  5. mat says:

    I’ve lived in SEPA for about 30 years now and I don’t think we’ve ever NOT been in a drought. Even if we weren’t, I believe in water conservation regardless. So we’re careful with pressure and shower duration, we let it mellow…as long as it isn’t all day, we’re careful with our dishwashing, and we never do less than a full load of laundry…which with 3 people in the house, isn’t exactly hard.
    The last few years, I’ve watered our pathetic veggie garden every day…this year…no garden, so no watering. I’m good with that. I also use our dehumidifier’s water in the basement toilet, so that’s free water.

    When we build the little house I’d like to do a gray water recovery system to feed the toilets, but other than that, I’m not sure what else you can really use it for.

    • Kerri says:

      I think you can use a gray water system for watering, Mat, as long as you don’t use harsh chemicals in the laundry and such. Besides washing clothes, I would say most of our water gets used by flushing the toilet, so having this type of a system would be good.