Los Angeles

Here’s How Recycling Your Shower and Sink Water Could Help You Save During LA’s Water Restrictions

As LA’s two-day a week lawn watering rule is about to go into effect, many homeowners are panicked.

A “gray water” option could help.

When Julie Feiner and David Richard Lewis moved into their North Hills home a couple of years ago, one thing kept going through their minds.

How much watering would their new green lawn and trees require?

“I was afraid to think of it,” Lewis said.

Was there a way to save the 50 gallons a day that went down the drain, whenever they took showers.

“It just makes sense to re-use that water,” Feiner said.

They hired Leigh Jerrard to put in a “gray water” system, which diverts water from the drain in their bathtub to a small pump outside.

The pump sends water to 16 “emitters,” placed around the yard, soaking a wood chip layer beneath the soil.

Gray water is gently used water, inside the house — bath tubs, showers, bathroom sinks and laundry.

Leigh’s company, Greywater Corps, has been converting yards big and small for 12 years.

Now that water agencies are tightening the screws on lawn watering, he’s in high demand.

He made it so this couples’ yard gets watered every time they shower, saving money and the environment.

And that includes thirstier plants, like fruit trees. In one his yard, they’ve got ten of them.

Soapy material in drain water contains phosphorus and nitrogen, among other things, that actually fertilize trees as they’re irrigated.

“Everything’s thriving,” Feiner said. “They love this gray water.”

Added Lewis: “I even sold my lawn mower.”

As the city of LA and other districts are restricting lawn watering to twice a week, can gray water support a grass lawn?

“Gray water is not really an option for lawns,” Jerrard said.

He advises people take the rebates being offered and replace the grass with plants.

It may be expensive, at first.

But over time you make back what you spent.

And in these climate-changing times, one day you may not have a choice.

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