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Mandatory Water Cuts Have Sacramento Residents Turning To Gray Water In Drought

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — They say you can learn a lot about a woman from her garden, but at Robin Weld's home, the bathroom tells the story.

She has a toilet and sink in one that she ordered from Japan for about $100. While some say it sinks to a new low during the drought, she says it sometimes saves 10 gallons of water or more a day.

"The average person uses the bathroom what at least five times a day so that's five times a day, so that adds up," she said.

Despite what you may think, it's actually quite sanitary as the water is routed from a separate pipe. When you flush, fresh water comes from a small faucet and you wash your hands with it.

"We're washing our hands and then reusing that water," she said.

The soapy water then drains into the bowl for the next flush.

California has long had a law on the books permitting home water recycling, but in year four of an unprecedented drought, it's more important than ever.

The concept seems to be everywhere in Sacramento. At her neighbor's house, gray water from the laundry machine inside is used to irrigate fruit trees in front.

"Every drop of water flows down to this pipe, runs underground now, down to the front yard, and then it's spread," said Chris Brown.

The landscape system was installed with his own money, and city rebates helped replace his lawn with mulch. He threw in some river rocks to collect rainwater.

"When we get water, it's going to come in big surges and we need to be capturing it in landscapes and learning to live with that because that's going to be our future," he said.

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