For years I have toiled to get bathwater out of the bathroom and into the garden to help reduce our water footprint. For many years, gravity wasn’t on my side. When we lived in a ground floor flat my method was to fill up a flexible bucket and carry the water out, trying not to slosh the carpet.
Even when we moved to a house with an upstairs bathroom – you’d think with the potential for some downpipe diversion to a water butt action – it has not been any easier. The downpipe from the bath is inaccessible. Our alternative has been to bucket the water out of the window, sending it down the roof of the lean-to extension, catching it in the guttering, and sending it onto a water butt. The high level of the window opening makes this a tough task on the arms, and about a third of the water splashes on the neighbour’s patio.
But a recent set of building works provided the chance to plumb in a diversion, and last week we put it into action. We have had a junction installed in the bath waste pipe, one end going to the waste water, the other snaking through the void of the lean-to and out into the garden. The really nifty part is a switch, controlled by two toggles hanging through the ceiling downstairs, which can allow you to choose if you want your water to go into the sewer or into the water butt.
The result is very pleasing – queue Hamlet cigar ad – and I can sit back and hear the pleasant gurgle of the water butt recharging while I relax. The new set up means I can also avoid those awkward mornings in which I’m bucketing bathwater out of the window while my neighbours are filling their giant outdoor paddling pool.