The Cloughjordan ecovillage community in County Tipperary is dedicated to preserving their water supply. With the installation of a sustainable drainage system, water is kept away from houses in the ecovillage but maintained within the pipes for as long as possible before flowing into a nearby local stream. Rainwater is also collected from the roofs of each building for use in community cold-water taps.
Inside the hostel, showers are set on a timer which turns the water off after approximately fifteen seconds– a button is located on the side of the showerhead which can be pressed as many times as needed until one’s shower is complete. Bathroom sinks are on a self-timer, as well. Not to speak for all students in the program, but I felt as though we all struggled a bit with this design. I remember joking around with a few classmates about specifically counting how many times it took us to press the button before our showers were finished– my personal best record was eighteen times. The shower design alone caused me to be more conscious of my water usage, which I suppose was the purpose behind creating such a setup. In the kitchen, villagers fill the sinks with warm, soapy water to wash dishes rather than continuously running the faucet like many often do. Personally, I felt as though doing so was particularly unsanitary and quite honestly unrefined. An alternative to such a practice would be using a bucket to fill for washing dishes in half of the sink, and using the other half to rinse as needed– this would eliminate the possibility of germs from dirty dishes spreading to ones that were previously washed. As a simple reminder to conserve water, small black faucets are painted on the walls throughout the hostel with dollar signs dripping from them. Although conservation efforts appear to be fairly minimal, continuing to practice these sustainable methods will benefit the community long-term.