Energy Diet

Water Works

We’ve always been conscious about preserving water. I think that pretty much our generation in México grew up with the knowledge that fresh water is a limited resource, and that we have the responsibility to use it accordingly. When we were kids, there was this very basic and nowadays ‘funny’ TV commercial where a chubby little kid popped out of everywhere and reminded adults to turn off the faucet, and believe it or not it worked! I think it stuck to our heads for all of us who watched it (for a quick laugh, watch one of the spots here )

When we were living in Mexico City, our water bills were extremely inexpensive, sometimes twenty or thirty pesos — that’s one or two dollars a month! The reason for it: because it is in the nation’s capital, many utilities and services are subsidized.

Things have changed quite a bit in recent years, and today there is a huge water shortage and because more water is being pumped out than is being recharged into the water bearing stratum, the phreatic surface is being depleted at an approximate rate of 1 mt/yr. So literally the center of Mexico City is sinking.

Some measures have been put into effect, like programmed water cuts.

Queretaro, which is the town where we live, also lacks of a sufficient water supply, so it is very expensive. When Matthew designed our home he took into consideration this fact and planned our water consumption in a better way.

We use our water twice. We have a water treatment system, which treats our grey and black water so we can use it to water our garden. We collect all of our rain water and also use it to water our garden and our orchard. The garden is designed with a slight incline so that when it rains, the water that is not absorbed by the land runs by gravity into two canals that empty into our water treated system.

We have an automatic irrigation system that waters in the evening, this way avoiding evaporation. Recently it was turned off by mistake so it stopped watering altogether for two weeks and right then and there we realized we could easily cut the watering days by half.

Another thing we did to save water was to install a water pedal that is used normally used in public restrooms and industrial kitchens. We use this while doing the dishes, so the tap is never running straight:


  1. Christina Nunez
    April 5, 2011, 10:13 am

    I enjoyed those PSA spots Michele — here’s another I thought was funny.

  2. boudour
    Abu Dhabi,UAE
    April 10, 2011, 1:03 am

    Hi Michele,
    Yes, you r right, we grow up on respecting and understanding the value of water, and When u say that the center of Mexico city is sinking, my god I remember what I wrote in my last post that we need to act now, not when it get worse and definitely we don’t want this to happen. Some measures for cutting down water are really affective, check the water first aid for the shower, another thing is a set up device that I brought to time your plants watering even if u r not inside the house, its amazing the technology nowadays. I loved the idea of the water pedal, amazing. Good luck

  3. Michele del Rio
    April 11, 2011, 12:19 pm

    One great project in Mexico City is called: ” Isla Urbana”, they are a non profit organization dedicated to promoting the capture of rainwater as a sustainable way to approach the water crisis in México, it’s a collaboration between communities, Civil Groups and government, they are installing systems mainly in low income housing areas to capture rain water and training plumbers in the installation and maintenance of these systems.
    Worth checking out!!!

  4. Steve Stearns
    April 11, 2011, 6:47 pm

    I love the idea of the water pedal…where did you get it?

  5. boudour
    Abu Dhabi,UAE
    April 12, 2011, 2:28 am

    loved the idea Michele, and the donation part is very nice for each dollar u pay u provide 120 l of water, not so bad at all, so imagine if u donate with more, i liked the calculations, thank you