Re­claim­ing your wa­ter

Res­i­dents share tips for sav­ing wa­ter at home

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Jenny Thompson

The drought rav­aging Ge­or­gia’s wa­ter­sheds has many busi­nesses, school sys­tems and private cit­i­zens try­ing to use less wa­ter. But some res­i­dents have prac­ticed wa­ter con­ser­va­tion long be­fore the state’s rivers and lakes be­gan to dry.

As a newly wed, Cov­ing­ton res­i­dent Carol Ve­li­o­tis lived on a small Greek is­land where she learned to use ev­ery drop of wa­ter wisely.

“I was prob­a­bly just as waste­ful as ev­ery other Amer­i­can be­fore I lived on an is­land with no fresh wa­ter source,” Ve­li­o­tis said.

Is­lan­ders cap­tured rain wa­ter from rooftops and stored it in un­der­ground cis­terns, but be­tween late April and Oc­to­ber not a drop fell from the sky. Sur­rounded by sea, the tiny is­land had to have drink­able wa­ter shipped in on a tanker.

“If the seas were rough, the wa­ter couldn’t come in and one win­ter we didn’t have wa­ter for 10 days,” Ve­li­o­tis said.

She re­mem­bers tak­ing a bath, not a full one of course, then bathing her chil­dren in the same wa­ter and then wash­ing rugs in the wa­ter and fi­nally us­ing the murky wa­ter to wa­ter plants.

Ice was an un­heard of lux­ury on the is­land.

Even back in the states for two decades, Ve­li­o­tis still shud­ders at the sight of wa­ter run­ning on full blast down a sink.

While wait­ing for her shower to get hot, Ve­li­o­tis cap­tures the cold wa­ter in buck­ets for her gar­den. Af­ter a din­ner party, half full glasses of wa­ter go onto her plants.

Wa­ter reused in this way in gar­dens and green­houses is known as “grey wa­ter.”

Crushed spi­ders are never flushed down the toi­let in her home, but rather thrown into the trash.

Ve­li­o­tis sug­gested fill­ing a mug with wa­ter to wet a tooth­brush be­fore brush­ing teeth, then rins­ing and gar­gling with half and us­ing the re­main­der to clean the tooth­brush.

Ac­cord­ing to Ve­li­o­tis, this method com­pared to leav­ing the faucet on when brush­ing teeth, saves up to 3 gal­lons of wa­ter per minute.

She also said it takes a front loader to close her dish­washer be­cause she never runs it with­out it be­ing com­pletely full.

“It takes the same amount of wa­ter whether you have one dish in it or 100 dishes,” Ve­li­o­tis said.

She does the same when wash­ing clothes.

Ve­li­o­tis is an ex­ec­u­tive board mem­ber of Keep Cov­ing­ton/New­ton Beau­ti­ful, di­rected by Cov­ing­ton res­i­dent Con­nie Waller.

Waller, too, has em­ployed sev­eral meth­ods around her home to save wa­ter.

“We’re chang­ing lives all the time, our own and the peo­ple we’ll never meet,” said Jones, whose par­ents are Rick and Francis Rogers of Ox­ford. “I think that’s the neat­est part of the pro­gram.”

Jones’ em­ploy­ment with Team In Train­ing be­gan in a round­about way. Though not a track run­ner at ei­ther New­ton High School or her alma mater, Berry Col­lege, Jones be­gan jog­ging reg­u­larly five years ago. Af­ter run­ning her first half-marathon in Novem­ber 2005 by her­self, Jones re­al­ized she needed a strong sup­port net­work be­hind her if she was go­ing to con­tinue to run.

“I was in a lot of pain for a long time af­ter that,” Jones said of her first half-marathon ex­pe­ri­ence.

With Team In Train­ing Jones says she was given ad­vice on nu­tri­tion, the right shoes to wear and how to pre­vent com­mon in­juries sus­tained in marathons. In ad­di­tion Jones says she was as­signed a men­tor to help with fundrais­ing ideas and a run­ning coach for help with her train­ing.

Af­ter com­plet­ing her first marathon with Team In Train­ing in Anchorage, Alaska, Jones left her job with the High Mu­seum of Art to join Team In Train­ing full-time in Oc­to­ber 2006

Though Jones says she had no per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence or con­nec­tion to lym­phoma or leukemia be­fore join­ing Team In Train­ing, through the or­ga­ni­za­tions Jones says she has met and worked with many in­di­vid­u­als who have a per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with the dis­ease.

“Ev­ery day is an emo­tional day,” Jones said.

Run­ning for a cause

As a co­or­di­na­tor for Team In Train­ing Jones works with dif­fer­ent run­ners through­out their train­ing and fundrais­ing ef­forts, of­fer­ing them ad­vice and en­cour­age­ment in ad­di­tion to man­ag­ing the lo­gis­tics of book­ing ho­tel rooms and travel, among other things. She also trav­els with teams to their events and cheers them on as they cross the fin­ish line.

On Nov. 4 Jones ran in the New York City Marathon. Though train­ing for the event was of­ten dif­fi­cult, es­pe­cially dur­ing this past sum­mer’s record heat wave, Jones said it was all worth it just to be able to run in such a pres­ti­gious worl­drenowned event.

“The day of the race, I was like ev­ery sec­ond was worth it,” said Jones who earned her place in the marathon through a lot­tery draw­ing.

The pop­u­lar­ity and pres­tige of run­ning in the ING New York City Marathon has be­come so great to­day that en­try is re­stricted to only 37,000 run­ners though close to three times that amount reg­u­larly ap­ply ac­cord­ing to the event’s Web-site.

In ad­di­tion to the sat­is­fac­tion of rais­ing funds for a good cause, Jones has also en­joyed watch­ing her run­ning times drop. Her run­ning time of 4 hours and 38 min­utes in New York was 20 min­utes shorter than the run­ning time of her first marathon in Alaska.

Not one to stop reach­ing for greater and greater heights, Jones will be push­ing her­self even fur­ther this May when she par­tic­i­pates in her first triathlon — The Wild­flower Triathlon in San An­to­nio, Calif. The event Jones is par­tic­i­pat­ing in will fea­ture a 1.2-mile swim, a 56mile bike race and a 13.1-mile run.

Af­ter trav­el­ing to Mon­terey for the triathlon this past spring with Team In Train­ing as a staff mem­ber to coach on team par­tic­i­pants, Jones says she knew she wanted to par­tic­i­pate in the next one af­ter ob­serv­ing how much fun the par­tic­i­pants were hav­ing.

Jones said the first team swim prac­tice for the triathlon which she par­tic­i­pated in Mon­day night was “an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I feel good in the run­ning de­part­ment, but the swim­ming and the bilk­ing are go­ing to take a lit­tle more ef­fort,” Jones said. “I have a long way to go, but I’m go­ing to make it.”

Jones said Team In Train­ing is right in the mid­dle of its re­cruit­ment pe­riod for the triathlon. So far 65 triath­letes have signed up.

“Nor­mal peo­ple are do­ing th­ese awe­some events,” Jones said. “We’re not Olympians. We’re chal­leng­ing our­selves like we never thought we could.”

As a par­tic­i­pant Jones said she is try­ing to raise $4,500 for blood can­cer re­search. Some of that fund­ing will likely come from a garage sale Jones says she will be hav­ing at her par­ents’ home in Ox­ford. She also plans to fundraise through her of­fi­cial event Web site and through emails to fam­ily and friends.

Through e-mail out­reach Jones says she has been sur­prised at how many in­di­vid­ual lives have been touched by blood can­cer. Her largest do­na­tion for the Alaska marathon came from a for­mer NHS class­mate’s fa­ther-in-law, some­one whom she did not know very well.

As a col­lege stu­dent ma­jor­ing in an­thro­pol­ogy, Jones said she imag­ined she would one day work in some far away third-world coun­try, help­ing the peo­ple of that na­tion im­prove their lives. Though life hasn’t worked out that way, Jones says she has no re­grets.

“I feel like I’m ex­actly where I’m sup­posed to be,” Jones said. “I re­ally can’t imag­ine any other job.”

To con­trib­ute to Jones’ fundrais­ing ef­forts visit her of­fi­cial Team In Train­ing Web-site at www.ac­tive.com/do­nate/tntga/ TriathlonMe­lanie.

Jenny Thompson/The Cov­ing­ton News

Grey wa­ter: Carol Ve­li­o­tis uses wa­ter ca­pu­tured from her shower and sink to wa­ter a gera­nium plant in the back­yard of her Cov­ing­ton home.

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