Have you ever felt really, really stupid? I’m talking about something worse than backing your car into a tree or calling your friend’s new boyfriend by her ex-boyfriend’s name – something really humiliating.
Well, when I’d lived at Lord Howe for a few months, we ran out of water at home. There’s no central water supply at Lord Howe. We all collect our own rainwater. (At Pinetrees, we also have a bore and we use bore water for everything except drinking). So running out of water is a big deal.
Our house has five rainwater tanks, with a capacity of about 20,000 litres. When we moved in, it was September and they were just about full. By November, we had run out completely. The worst thing was, I had no idea that we were even short of water until the washing machine started making a funny noise when I tried to fill it up.
Where had all of the water gone? I like to stand under the shower for hours at a time, and it isn’t the water-saving variety. Doing two loads of washing a day isn’t such a good idea when you have limited water, but I was taught to keep whites and colours separate. The dishwasher was always on. And it didn’t rain much. In fact, November was the driest November since the 1880s when they started keeping records.
My dad gave us some water from his tanks (thanks, Ed!) It rained in December and the tanks filled up again. I’ve learned to conserve water a bit. I have short showers and use the outside shower. There’s an unexpected benefit – because we’re not using the shower in the bathroom, it doesn’t need cleaning! I take the washing to Pinetrees and do it there. I put things back in the wardrobe if they’re not visibly dirty and wear them again. I have a swim and go to work with salty hair (it’s only salt, right?).
In the future, we’ll order some new tanks to give us a bit more capacity. We have to get them here on the ship and they could take up to a year to deliver as the ship can only take one tank on each voyage and there’s a queue … but that’s another story.
Feeling better now? Whatever you did can’t be as stupid as running out of water.