Reclaiming your water
Residents share tips for saving water at home
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.
Grey water: Carol Veliotis uses water caputured from her shower and sink to water a geranium plant in the backyard of her Covington home.