RV Living

Water Conservation

Stretching your freshwater and holding tank capacity is the key to boondocking or whatever term you prefer for camping without services.

How to conserve comes with a number of "it depends" factors such as the size of your tanks, water conservation aids and lifestyle. But, the biggest factor is experience.

As an example, our motorhome has a 105 gal. freshwater tank, a 65 gal. grey waste tank and a 45 gal. black tank. When we first started boondocking with it we got 3-4 days boondocking before we had to dump and refill with fresh water. Now, a few years later, we can go 9-10 days while still enjoying a morning shower each day.

Your RV will be equipped differently but here are a few of the things we've done to stretch the resources we have available.

✓ Our toilet has a water conservation mode, enabled with the flip of a switch. In conservation mode, it causes less water for each flush. When additional water is required, we supplement the flush with water from a 1-gallon pitcher.

✓ We keep a 1-gallon pitcher handy to capture and repurpose. As an example, we use it to catch the initial cold water coming from sinks or the shower, then use it for flushing or other needs.

✓ Our OEM shower head has been replaced with an Oxygenics shower head. They are designed to conserve water yet provide the feel of greater water volume by adding air to the water flow. It might sound hokey but it works.

✓ Learn the technique for taking a "sailer's shower". Wet down and stop the water while you soap up and wash. Then turn the water back on for a quick rinse down. The on/off water valve on our Oxigenics shower head make this easy without having to waste water while readjusting the temperature each time.

✓ When boondocking we minimize the use of things that need washing. Foods that can be cooked over an open fire, rather than in a pot and appliances like an air fryer, use less energy and require minimal cleaning are all good.

✓ Beyond meal preparation is eating and paper plates and utensils all reduce the need for washing and water usage.

✓ When you do have to wash dishes, do it in a plastic basin and save the water for reuse elsewhere.

✓ We do not use the water from our freshwater tank for cooking or drinking. Though we have a whole-house filtration system, water quality and taste vary and some campgrounds get their water from uncontrolled wells. Most filtration systems don't kill bacteria so, to keep it safe, we use only bottled water for consumption. this has the added benefit of lowering the priority of sanitizing the RV's water system. We carry three 5-gal. water jugs for consumable water and uses a battery-powered pump to dispense it. When we get down to our last 5-gal jug, we refill the other two at a purified water refill station.

We are by no means pros at water conservation, learning more each year from fellow RVers. It is a process, not a single-action procedure and each drop saved adds up over time.

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