Each French person consumes 165 liters of water a day for domestic purposes, which is less than the Americans (600 liters), but more than the 60 liters in India and the 5 to 20 liters in Madagascar. For a family of four, the annual consumption is 150m3, that is, about $630 in water expenses annually.
Water has to be pumped and treated in order for it to be potable. The trouble is that only 1% of this water is used for drinking purposes. Here is the breakdown of water consumption in a Parisian household in 2005:
- drinking purposes: 1%
- meal preparation: 6%
- washing dishes: 10%
- washing clothes: 12%
- personal hygiene purposes: 39%
- sanitary facilities: 20% (varies according to the number, age and sex of the occupants)
- other domestic uses: 12%
How do we make savings on both money and potable water? By collecting rainwater.
How this works?
In France, the average annual rainfall is 700 millimeters. This means that for someone who owns a house of 100m2, 70m3 of rainwater can be collected every year, that is, half a family of four's needs.
How do we collect rainwater? By placing a cistern below the rain gutter. A simple plastic cistern costs a little over 140 dollars, and can go up to several thousands of dollars for an underground tank with a pump, but such an investment will pay for itself quickly. For a family of four, saving half of the consumption of potable water over 20 years amounts to saving $6300.
Uses for rainwater
Rainwater can be used for:
- Watering the garden
- Washing the car
It's really easy. An ordinary 200 or 300 liter cistern and a watering can are all you need for watering your garden with rainwater. To wash your car, you just need to connect a high pressure washer to the cistern.
For those of you who are particularly motivated or those who are having their house built, rainwater can be used for sanitary facilities, amounting to reductions in consumption of 20%. Similarly, it can be used for washing the clothes or even for the shower.
Only water for drinking and preparing meals, and to a certain extent, that used for washing the dishes, i.e. 17% of water that is consumed, actually needs to be potable...
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