Yes, you heard me right. Toilet water. And I don't mean the kind you dab behind your ears.
Did you know that a nonwater-saving toilet uses 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush? So, for a family of four this totals 36,500 to 51,000 gallons per year, on average.
To help you reduce the amount of water (and money) that you are flushing away, here are some tips on how to save water (listed from cheap to more expensive):
1. Don't flush
I'm really sick of the yellow/mellow saying, so I'll offer you something new:
If it's pee, let it be.
If it's poo, flush it through.
2. Use bath water or other grey water to flush the toilet
Although there may be some health issues with leaving grey water sitting around for too long, you can capture sink, shower or bath water and just dump it into the toilet bowl when you flush. I know some readers do this, perhaps they have some hints and tips to share.
3. Place a brick or a plastic bottle filled with water in the tank to displace water
Depending on how much you load up your tank with junk, you can save 1 to 1.5 gallons per flush. For example, if you put a gallon milk jug (filled with water, people, not milk) in your tank, you'll save a gallon per flush.
4. Install a flush regulator
This thing lets you control how much water goes into your flush. You hang the regulator on the flush mechanism and the toilet will only flush for as long as the button is held down. Apparently it's pretty easy to install with no plumber or tools needed and it can be used in dual flush system (see #6 below). The drawback with this is they don't seem to be readily available in the U.S.
5. Get a water-saving toilet
A water-saving toilet uses 3 1/2 gallons, about half of the old kind. That's a lot of water.
6. Get a dual-flush toilet
These will set you back a bunch, but you'll make up the savings in the long run if you have old toilets and don't want to try the other suggestions. Plus, it's always fun to confuse the hell out of visitors who stand there puzzled by the toilet.
Finally, there's one more suggestion.
It didn't make the list because I don't think it's practical for most people and, frankly, it makes the DivaCup look like an ice-cream cone. But, if you're real excited, you can save your urine and use it to fertilize your plants - it has lots of nitrogen (and potassium and minerals, too).
[Thanks to my brilliant brother, Darryl, for the pictures of the crab he found in his toilet one morning when he was living in Fiji.]