Our last newsletter shared the tough news that drought is, once again, looming in our watershed. One supporter sent us a note about how she plans to to do her part to conserve water. We’ve printed it below anonymously with her permission. Let us know if you have any tips on how to love our river for a chance to be published here or on our social media.
Dear Russian Riverkeeper,
When I was a young girl, living in rural Oregon, I remember the somewhat humorous efforts my family made to conserve water during one seriously drought-affected summer in the early 70s. We had a classic cast-iron claw-foot bathtub. A bath was drawn, and first my mother, then all six children would bathe in the same water, one after the other, in order from oldest to youngest. That wasn’t all – once we had all finished our baths, the water did not go down the drain, but instead was siphoned through a length of garden hose, out the bathroom window and into the yard, where it watered a parched tree. We had an acre of land, and the only thing outside that was watered from the well was the vegetable garden. By mid-summer, the grass of the lawn had browned and died, leaving mostly stiff-stemmed dandelions and thistles to toughen our bare feet as we ran and played. Only on rare occasions did we get to play in the sprinkler, meant more to cool us down from the unrelenting heat than to water the grass.
I’m remembering those scenes as our household braces for a serious drought this summer. I think about it especially when I shower (only when I need it – not too often) and I feel some pride shutting the flow from my showerhead while I soap up and wash my hair. We have a bucket in the bathroom to catch the cold water that flows before the shower is up to temperature. A well-timed splash from that bucket helps a low-flow flush get the job done. Another bucket in the kitchen will await the water from washing vegetables, to be returned to the vegetable garden or boost our native, decorative shrubs. Our lawn will go fallow. In this Covid era of many daily handwashings, I have mastered setting faucets to the merest trickle so as not to waste much water while I scrub for 20 seconds. The slow pace gives me many moments to appreciate and be grateful for the resource of clean water that you help to protect.
It feels good.
A watershed resident