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Gray Water Reclaimation

Do you really think that the water that is flowing down the drain from washbasins, kitchen sinks is useless enough to slip into sewage gutters. Are we waiting for a spell of drought or a huge water crisis before we could realize the importance of water. Some simple efforts made at household level can lead to enormous water being saved across the globe. But first lets sort how to collect this water before it gets polluted with the black stream.

Reclaiming gray water is first step towards recognizing the importance of waste water and distinguishing gray water from black water. In the areas with drought and water crisis people are not able to afford plenty of water to even wash food and fruit. In such scenarios, Clean water used in rinsing is often used multiple times before sending it down the drain. Unfortunately, we fail to understand the importance of treatable of utilizable waste water which has not only lead on the path of water crisis but has also polluted our vast network of water bodies.
Manual bucketing
The most low-tech system of gray water reclamation, manual bucketing is exactly what it sounds like. You simply drain your gray water directly into portable containers that you can use to water lawns, gardens and potted plants. The process can be as simple as collecting water from washing machine drain pipe a bucket or a drum. A better approach is to keep the machine at a slightly higher level so as not to create any back pressure for water in the machine which might lead to water stagnation in the machine. Similarly, the drain from kitchen sink or Dishwasher can be routed to a drum or bucket which can be used to water a tree. The best part of kitchen drain is that if a chemical free dish-wash soap/ bar is used then this water is a boon for plants as it will enhance the growth of soil microbes and is free of toxins. Wood ash used as a dishwasher is a sustainable way keeping kitchen water toxins free and hence finally gifting it back to earth.

A more permanent hands-free approach to gray water reclamation is diversion. It lets the plumbing do most of the work. Instead of manually lugging the gray water left over from a rinsing to the garden, a diversion system drains gray water directly from your bathrooms and drains to distribute it outside.
Precaution: Use subsurface irrigation so that soil can treat the gray water itself. Otherwise, gray water pooling on the surface or running off the property could result in building damage, bad odors, mosquitoes and even pollution.
A better way is to dig out a soak pit which is filled with stones or preferably over burnt bricks. The large numbers of stones or bricks increase the surface area over which biological and chemical action takes place. The water seeps into the ground and reduces danger of polluting the ground water sources.

The method of diversion finds more applicability in modern day setups where Housing societies can design the plumbing in such a way that gray water is separately sent to soak pits rather than mixing it with black water which enormously increases the problem of sewage and its treatment. Although if you are not gifted with such an arrangement than manual bucketing is surely your way to go. We live in a floor where plumbing is not an option but that has never stopped us from using gray water to feed our plants or to wash balconies. It all needs an intention for this water saving revolution to start. Lets join hands at Planetous to save every drop that we can.
For more articles on our water series click "Next article". Share your experiences with gray water and suggestions if any, in the comments below.

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