Addressing Our Water Needs

There are three countries in the world where 50% of the citizens (or more) don’t have access to drinkable water. Equatorial Guinea is one of those countries. We have a well that feeds water to our house, but it is expected to go dry when the rain stops in June. So, in our first month here we have been racing to address our water needs, as the dry season starts early June. We need all our water stored for the three dry months (June – August) before the rain stops.

For comparison purposes only (not intended to make anyone feel guilty) we are including the average 2015 US water consumption numbers as provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

WP_20160503_012The average US citizen uses 3 gallons of water per minute in the shower. We use a rain water camping shower (pictured to the left). The bladder in our shower is 11 liters (2.9 gallons). We both use half of the bladder, or 1.5 gallons per shower.

The average US dishwasher uses 6 gallons per cycle. We hand wash our dishes in two plastic tubs and use 3 gallons of rain water per day.

The average US citizen consumes 1 gallon of water a day (drinking, cooking, in products, etc.). We are consuming almost double that.

WP_20160503_008 (2)The average US toilet uses 3 gallons per flush. We are bucket flushing with a gallon of rain water once a day.

The average US clothes washing machine uses 25 gallons of water per load. Our washer uses 10 gallons of rain water per load and we are trying to limit our usage to one and half loads of wash per week.

In the US the average person uses 80 gallons of water per day. Erin and Mike are each using less than 10 gallons per day. Our daughter Madison is going to join us for the three dry months. With Madison here our household water consumption should be about 30 gallons per day, or 900 gallons per month, or 2700 gallons for the three months of the dry season.

WP_20160502_002We just installed rain gutters on our roof and purchased two 55 gallon barrels and one 4000 liter (1056 gallons) storage container to capture and store rain water. As long as we get some more rain in May we should put a serious dent in our water needs.

There is a dirty water well, down the hill, that never goes dry. That water is not fit for consumption, but it will do just fine to flush our toilet and wash our clothes.

In short, captured rain water + unlimited dirty well water should get us through the three-month dry season (June – August). But, we are still going to need some prayers and a lot more rain in May.


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