Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Av 5760 - August 16, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Water, Water

The recent heat spells may have dampened our spirits and our foreheads -- and surely increased our awareness of the country's serious water shortage. One person coolly suggested that heat waves are prominent in the Torah. Our nation had its happy beginning when Hashem "removed the sun from its sheath" and created a sizzling day to protect Avrohom Ovinu from visitors. He was so distressed, however, that Hashem sent him the three angels who announced the future birth of Yitzchok.

We again find blazing hot weather prophesized for the times of the war of Gog and Magog, when Hashem will cause the evil ones to wither away in the intense heat. So just hang on there and learn to bear it. The real thing may be just around the corner!

We present here two articles on saving that precious natural resource, water.

How to Save Up to 30% on Your Water Bill

by Abe Berkowitz

Israel is facing a serious water shortage. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to build desalinization plants; the country is also seriously considering importing water from Turkey. [Who wants to be dependent on foreign countries for something as basic as water?]

If you own a single handle toilet with a water tank, there is a simple, inexpensive device that takes one minute to install inside the reservoir tank (called the `niagara' in Israel) and saves money on your water bill. it is a heavy metal `cup' called chaschan mayim l'niagara. It acts as a weight that allows the water to flow for only as long as one presses down on the small water handle. It is available in most hardware stores for 18 shekel or less.

A family in Har Nof with five children installed this device in two of their single handle toilets. Their water bill went from 300 shekel to 200 shekel. That is a 600 ($150) shekel saving over one year.

The saving in water and money occurs when there is liquid waste in the toilet bowl which requires only a small fraction of the water in the reservoir. By pressing the handle for half a second, the toilet bowl is evacuated. For solid wastes, one need press the handle down for only four seconds. As soon as everything is flushed down and the handle released, the water stops flowing. This is usually before half the tank has been emptied.

It takes one minute to install the chaschan mayim l'niagara water saver. It may come with its own diagram, but in case it doesn't, or only has Hebrew instructions, read on: Press the button on the outside of the reservoir to release the lid. Open. Place the metal cup on top of the mechanism which stops and starts the water flow inside the reservoir. Position the metal cup so that its slot fits over the arm attachment to the handle. See illustration.

[Once the lid is open and you can look in, experiment to see how much water is saved/wasted with both methods. You will be amazed.]

It is everyone's responsibility to save water. The chaschan mayim l'niagara is a painless way to save water -- and your money. Besides, with all the money you save on your water bill, you can take your wife out to dinner and give more money to yeshivos. No kidding -- just put that saved money aside and use it!

Drops in the Bucket

by Yaffa Shepsel

For those of you who are seriously concerned over the country's water shortage, the following ideas can make a difference -- for you, in your water bill, and as an effort to show Hashem that we care. If the following tips are adopted by enough people, it WILL make a difference. Even at the home level, it will make the difference to you.

Invest in an extra two pails. Put them to use as follows:

BATHING: Bathe your little ones together. Use a plastic tub for two, or the tub for three. In any event, PUT THE PLUG IN and use this water again. When your family showers, tell them to keep the plug in the drain. When they are finished bathing, gather up the water in your new pails. You will be astounded at how much water you use, at least two pailfuls! This water can be used for watering plants, cleaning and washing floors. It can also be used for hand laundry. (Also see 3.)

If you have learned to open the lid of your `niagara' from A. Berkowitz, leave it on loosely, and pour some bath/shower water into the tank after you have flushed down. One shower should carry through a morning of flushing! It may seem like work, but if you get into the habit, it will become automatic.

YOUR WASHING MACHINE: Try this before saying `No'. 1) Most machines have a cycle for half loads. These use half the water. Try washing a FULL load on a HALF cycle. The clothing will come out just as clean, I promise, and smell even better.

2) Another way to save water in laundry is to simply flip the machine past ONE or TWO of the rinse cycles. Your clothing does not need all that rinsing! You will get into the habit by being around the machine when it launders, doing things in the vicinity, and listening to when it reaches the first rinse. Then flip the button to the next rinse. It will become second nature and you will feel very good about saving all that water. Your clothing will NOT suffer!

3) You have two pailfuls from your bathwater. Use this to load your machine for its first wash water. It is clean enough for that! Pour in carefully.

4) (Alternate to 3). Where does the machine water drain out? If the pipe is accessible -- and it can be made more accessible by moving the machine a bit -- you can benefit from the last rinse water. Have two pails handy nearby. Program your machine for NO SPIN. When it is finished washing, it will stop. At your convenience, put on the Spin and guide the hose to fill up your two pails. This water can be used for floors -- or for loading the next machine. The water will be clean enough to wash that next load -- even if you have skipped a rinse cycle or two! I know -- I do it all the time.

WASHING DISHES -- since we don't want to make watercarriers out of all our readers, this water- saver tip can be done standing at your sink.

Get a plug for your sink or plug it up with a plastic bag. Let enough dishes accumulate, then fill with soapy water. Place a pail half full with clean water and dip each soaped dish in. Great for after Shabbos. Use the pail water for floors or cleaning.

If you don't like dishes accumulated in the sink, rinse off each dish as soon as it comes off the table. The reside will come off very quickly and you will be saving water, too.

Readers are asked to send in their tips, just as Mr. Berkowitz did. I think we can consider water saving a big mitzva in times of drought, no matter how small the amount. It is the act of saving that counts, that shows Hashem that we are concerned.


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